28 July 2014

the billy martin memorial patch

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
and jesse barfield's 1991 upper deck card
and dave lapoint's 1991 upper deck card as well
in a bit of a departure, i decided to use a card from 1993 to represent this particular memorial in the binder.  it comes from the 1993 rainbow foods dave winfield set that was released in minnesota (and perhaps elsewhere) to mark winfield's return to the twin cities.  this is a gold parallel version noting his time spent with the yankees.
martin had finished his playing career as a twin in 1961, and later returned to the team as their manager in 1969.  it was his first managerial job, and he led the team to a first place finish in the first year of division play.  after that, martin managed in detroit and texas before taking the job of the yankee skipper in 1975.  much turmoil ensued, and despite getting the yankees back to the postseason in 1976 and winning it all in 1977, owner george steinbrenner fired martin 52 games into the 1978 season.  of course, the boss hired martin back in 1979, but fired him again.

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.

1 comment:

The Lost Collector said...

Very cool. I enjoy looking back on Yanks cards and noticing the number patches. They did the same for DiMaggio, Mantle, and Rizzuto in my lifetime, and have also done black arm bands and other various patches.

I actually have a post on Martin coming later this week.