BILLY MARTIN : Baseball's Flawed Genius
Billy Martin is a story of contrasts. He was the clutch second baseman for the dominant New York Yankees of the 1950s. He then spent sixteen seasons managing in the big leagues, and is considered by anyone who knows baseball to have been a true baseball genius, a field manager without peer. Yet he’s remembered more for his habit of kicking dirt on umpires, for being hired and fired by George Steinbrenner five times, and for his rabble rousing and public brawls. He was combative, fiery, intimidating, and controversial, yet beloved by the everyday fan. He was hard on his players and even harder on himself. He knew how to turn around a losing team like no one else—and how to entertain us every step of the way.
Now, with his definitive biography Billy Martin, Pennington finally erases the caricature of Martin. Drawing on exhaustive interviews with friends, family, teammates, and countless adversaries, Pennington paints an indelible portrait of a man who never backed down for the game he loved. From his shantytown upbringing in a broken home; to his days playing for the Yankees when he almost always helped his team find a way to win; through sixteen years of managing, including his tenure in New York in the crosshairs of Steinbrenner and Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin made sure no one ever ignored him. And indeed no one could. He was the hero, the antihero, and the alter ego—or some combination of all three—for his short sixty-one years among us.
This is one of the better biographies that I have read. The person Billy Martin did have many faults which are describe in this book, but what cannot be said about him was the love of the game, and how hard he worked to get there. Getting an inside look into his childhood, and the neighborhood that he grew up in. it really is no wonder that he was a fighter, for it seemed that he fought since he could walk. Looking out for himself and for the ones he let into his inner circle he truly lived the code of the street. If you messed with him, you got an enemy for life. This also brought a lot of people looking to cause problems for him especially later in life when people would see him in a bar. The book also goes into his passion of baseball and not only how he loved to play the game, but also how from the minors through the majors he would sit close to the mangers going over strategies of the game. These tidbits would come back and make him a successful manager in the big leagues. He also had a winning record in the minors. What I liked about this book was his early life, and the not so famous stories. The ones about the coaches he would sit with and go over the game different situations. Some of his former coaches thought he would end up not only being a manger, but a good one as well. A very good book. I gave this book 5 stars.
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