By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
In late August I sat sequestered on a deck & a dock somewhere near Minden Hills, Ontario and passed the time by reading Bill Pennington's book " Billy Martin; Baseball's Flawed Genius ".
Written in 2015, this 500 plus page chronicle is actually a quick and enjoyable read through 61 years for the famed baseball player & manager, Billy Martin.
Beginning in West Berkeley, California amid rugged surroundings from every angle, Martin made it to the Major Leagues and went to the World Series 5 times with the New York Yankees dynasty of the 1950's.
In World Series competition, at a time when the World Series was seemingly watched by the World, Martin batted a combined .333, and maybe more notable is the defensive catch he made in 1952 against Brooklyn that likely won that Series for the Yankees.
When his playing days were complete he became a manager of much renown.
Most of Martin's reputation, as a player and later a manager, came from his womanizing, his drinking and his never ending sequence of fist fights.
From the famous Copacabana incident in the 50's through the Eddie Lee Whitson tilt 30 years later, Martin was known for getting into scrapes and scraps.
The book doesn't deny any of this, but what it does is frequently give depth to an incident, or illustrate there are 2 sides to every story and it always takes two to fight.
In recapping Martin's baseball life, it's asked whether he deserves to be on the hallowed walls of Baseball's Hall of Fame.
There are many other managers with less accomplishments to their resume than Martin who are in the Hall of Fame.
Yes, Billy Martin only won one World Series as a manager, 1977 with the Yankees, but his revitalization of the Yankees in the mid 70's plus his penchant for turning underachieving teams at Minnesota, Detroit, Texas and Oakland into post season teams can't be written off as fluke.
Bill Pennington on Billy Martin; " Baseball's Flawed Genius ".
I'm Fred Wallace