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!