Monday, June 23, 2014

Miss Me Some Billy Ball!

On Saturday Bob Melvin got tossed from the A's vs Red Sox game. and I immediately thought of Billy Martin.

It's automatic.  Whenever I see a manager argue with an umpire and get tossed from a game, 99% of the time I think about Billy Martin and his entertaining tirades.  I can't help it. I grew up watching the guy and when he arrived in Oakland, he instantly became a fan favorite.  Billy Ball was born and was a household name here in the Bay Area during the early 80's.

To this day, I still consider him my favorite manager of all-time.  So today I'm showing off my Billy Martin PC.  Let's kick things off with one of the coolest cards of the 70's:

1972 Topps #33

Can you see it?  Should I turn it up?


Yup... before Billy Ripken's 1989 Fleer F-Face card, there was Martin's 1972 Topps Flipping the Bird card.  Twenty-two years later, Frank Thomas dedicated his 1994 Stadium Club "award winner" card to Billy:

1994 Stadium Club #285

Unfortunately Martin passed away five years before this card was produced, so he didn't have the opportunity to see Frank's tribute.  But if he had, I'm sure Billy would have given him a huge thumbs up:

1981 Donruss #479

Here's a look at the rest of my Billy Martin collection:

1981 Fleer #581

1981 and 1982 Granny Goose Cards

At first, I thought I scanned the same card twice.  But I went back and noticed that although these cards are similar on the front, they differ on the back.

1982 Donruss #491

Donruss did an excellent job of capturing Billy doing... what Billy does best.  While Topps did the best job at showing of Martin's famous cross cap:

1983 Topps #156

I know a lot of people (even players) didn't like Billy.  It's no secret that he had anger issues and problems with alcohol.  He has even been called a "cheater" and a "racist".  

But that's not what this post is about.  It's about honoring the man who loved the game of baseball as depicted on this card: 


1983 Donruss #575

The same guy who brought "Billy Ball" to the Bay Area in the early 80's:


Happy Monday and sayonara!

14 comments:

  1. Billy was great. I remember him and Reggie going at it in the dugout at fenway

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    1. Great moment in baseball. Loved hearing Reggie comment about it years down the road. He didn't have many nice things to say about Billy.

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  2. Back in the day it was always fun to watch This Week in Baseball with Mel Allen to see if either Billy or Earl Weaver had completely lost their cr*p on some poor umpire that week.

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    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1VdBqFcrjY

      Here's the TWIB with Reggie and Billy going at in in 1977.

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    2. Miss Mel Allen and TWIB. One of the greatest shows ever.

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  3. Great post Fuji! I love watching footage of Billy going crazy.

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    1. Thanks. It was fun watching Billy manage in general. Loved how he just let the A's run wild. But watching him go crazy on umpires was epic.

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  4. Earl Weaver is the first person I think of when the topic of umpire tirades comes up.

    Billy Martin died in my hometown -- I know, happy.

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    1. Loved Earl too. He's my second favorite manager of all-time.

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  5. Bobby Cox for me. Great post thanks for the smiles.

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    1. He's the king, right? I'm pretty sure this is the answer to a trivia question.

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  6. Lou Piniella also had some fun with the umps:
    http://www.totalprosports.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/11-lou-piniella-cubs-kicking-hat-most-ejected-mlb-managers-manager-ejections.jpg

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  7. I think he learned it from Billy during their years together.

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