Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Hello Rickey. Good Bye Billy Ball

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. I hope everyone's family is well and you all received the gifts you have been hoping for.
Today is also an anniversary of a birth and a passing for a couple baseball legends. On this day in 1958, Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson was born. He is regarded as the greatest leadoff man ever. At the time of his retirement, Henderson was the all time leader in leadoff home runs, runs scored, stolen bases and walks.

Unfortunately, Christmas day of 1989, one of Henderson's former managers passed away.  Billy Martin died in an one car accident on an icy road in New York. It is has some controversy behind it, as it is unclear if Martin was driving or not. Alcohol was involved regardless
As a player, Martin played 2nd base for the New York Yankee World Series championship teams of the 1950s. He was known as light hitting batter but clutch. The career .257 hitter managed to make one all star team and won the 1953 World Series MVP.  He was also known to enjoy the nightlife with Yankee teammates Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford.
But it was a manager where Martin became most successful.  He led the Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees and Oakland A's to divisional crowns. Martin also took a last place Texas Rangers to a 2nd place finish.  His managerial style was very aggressive and always thinking outside of the norm.  But his combative personality rubbed people the wrong way many times and got him fired only after brief stays for each club. He was the Yankee manager on five different occasions. Hired and fired each time by owner George Steinbrenner.  Martin's most famous tussle was with Yankee slugger Reggie Jackson in the dugout during a game.
One of the most infamous or fun(depending how you look at it) baseball cards ever was his 1972 Topps card :
1972 Topps
his card epitomizes his personality. If you look close enough, you will notice he is giving the photographer the one finger salute as holds the baseball bat.

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