billy martin died in a single-car accident on christmas day, 1989. the driver of the car, a friend of martin's, was charged with driving under the influence. the yankees, the team that martin was most associated with during his playing and managerial days, added a memorial patch to their uniforms from the 1990 season. instead of the traditional black armband, they added martin's retired number 1 to their left sleeves.
there it is on don mattingly's 1991 fleer ultra card
in 1980, martin took over the oakland a's and 'billy ball' was born. martin guided the a's to the postseason in 1981 (they lost the alcs to the yankees), but the team fell to fifth place in the al west in 1982 and he was let go. no problem - steinbrenner hired him to be the yankee manager again, but was fired after a third place finish. martin returned the the job a fourth time, taking over for yogi berra in 1985, and was fired for a fourth time after the season ended. martin was named the team's manager by steinbrenner for a fifth time going into the 1988 season, but was canned for a fifth time by steinbrenner after 68 games. one has to wonder if martin, who was 61 when he died, would have been asked to manage the yankees another time (and been fired soon thereafter) had he not been in the accident.