Was Billy Martin a Hall of Fame Manager?

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Not a lot of news today, so why not some links?  Here’s one from MLB.com remembering Billy Martin in all of his complicated glory twenty years after his death.

Maybe it’s because he was in his managing heyday when I was introduced to baseball as a kid in the late 70s, but I always thought of Martin as a superstar. He was the Yankees’ manager and the Yankees were the best team in baseball, and that’s all there was to it.  Sure, I eventually learned that it was more complicated than that — he was an outrageously polarizing alcoholic sonofabitch who, while possessing a knack for making teams better by his presence alone, blew up clubhouses and pitchers’ arms in equal measure– but I was shocked when Martin only got three of the necessary twelve votes from the Veterans’ Committee.  If Billy Martin isn’t a Hall of Fame manager, who is?

Since he’s no longer alive, I can’t figure that the vote was some sort of punishment for his personal behavior. What would be the point? I just think that people didn’t think of Martin as as good a manager as I did. And still do. Heck, he even turned the mid-70s Rangers into a winning team the year after they lost 105 games.

Martin may have been an awful person in many respects, but the Hall of Fame is filled with awful people. He’d get my vote if I had one.  How about you? Is he worthy?

Anthems, first pitches and other ceremonial stuff

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The World Series is not just about the baseball. It’s about the bigger-than-usual stars singing the National Anthem, the more-famous-than-usual people throwing out the first pitch and all of the assorted to-do which surrounds the ballgames. Here is that sort of stuff for Game 1 and Game 2 in Boston.

First pitches:

  • Carl Yastrzemski will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for Game 1. Yastrzemski also threw out the first pitch of Game 1 in 2004, 2007 and 2013. The Red Sox won each of those games and each of those World Series so, yeah, go with what works, right?
  • Members of the 2004 World Series Champions will throw the ceremonial first pitch of Game 2. It doesn’t say which members, so maybe my dream of Manny Ramirez doing it will work out after all. Hey, he played for the Dodgers too, so let’s make this happen, OK?

National Anthems:

  • Singer-songwriter James Taylor will perform the National Anthem prior to the start of Game 1. This morning Peter Gammons tweeted that Taylor’s family helped build Fenway Park. Let’s file that under “interesting, but not so interesting that it’s really worth tracking down to confirm, so why not believe it?” Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.
  • For Game 2 the National Anthem will be performed by the Boston Pops, with the Tanglewood Chorus and the Boston Symphony Children’s Chorus doing the singing. The Boston Pops are conducted by Keith Lockhart, who was a career .287/.354/.425 hitter in 37 postseason games with the Atlanta Braves. I mean, at least I’m pretty sure it’s the same Keith Lockhart. Again: not interesting enough to check so, like Gammons’ thing about James Taylor, let’s assume I’m right about this.

Play ball.