Billy Martin: the "champion of self-destruction"

Billy Martin got drunk, insulted the Yankees’ owner, kicked dirt at umpires, flaunted his mistress at the ballpark, failed to pay his taxes and got into dugout and barroom brawls


The legend of Billy the Id has endured since his death at 61 in 1989 in a truck accident on Christmas after a day of drinking. .

.. A savvy sportswriter once told me about one of Martin’s managerial traits that Mr. Pennington doesn’t touch on but that helps explain his record. Martin, he said, would motivate players by telling them that teammates were gunning for their jobs or were talking against them. During Martin’s first season, the players didn’t share what the manager told them. But as time went on, they loosened up with each other and realized that Billy was playing them off against each other—and he would lose the clubhouse.

... there was always drama with Steinbrenner, particularly after Reggie Jackson joined the team and began competing with Martin for the paternal favor of the proprietor. The rivalry exploded in a televised dugout scuffle between Reggie and Billy during the 1977 season—one of the marquee moments of Yankee ignominy. The Yankees won the World Series, but Steinbrenner fired Martin in the middle of the next season after the manager said of Reggie and George, “The two of them deserve each other. One’s a born liar; the other one’s convicted”—a reference to the owner’s guilty plea to charges of making illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon and obstruction of justice.

... Steinbrenner enabled Martin’s pathological behavior by giving him raises and forgiving loans each time he fired him. After the ’79 season, Billy wound up in a fight in a Minneapolis bar with one Joseph W. Cooper, a marshmallow salesman.
Comment: Absolutely could not stand the guy! Link to Marshmallow article. Wall Street Journal article is a book review of Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius

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