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Billy Martin


1928 Born May 16 in Berkeley, California
1946 Graduates from Berkeley High School; begins playing baseball on an Oakland Oaks farm team
1947 Is hired to play for Phoenix in the Arizona-Texas league; leads league in hitting, at bats, hits, doubles, and runs batted in; as third baseman leads league in putouts, assists, and errors
1948 Plays professional baseball on Casey Stengel's Oakland Oaks team; team wins Pacific Coast League pennant
1950 Stengel, now with New York Yankees, brings Martin on board as a utility player; Martin marries Lois Elaine Berndt on October 4—they will have one daughter, Kelly Ann
1950-51 Serves in U.S. Army
1951 Meets Mickey Mantle at Yankees training camp and the two begin a lifelong friendship
1952 Steps in from second base to catch a pop-up ball, saving a seventh-game win for the Yankees over the Dodgers, making it the Yankees' fourth straight World Series win
1953 Plays second base in Yankees' fifth straight World Series-winning season, batting .500; is divorced from Berndt
1953-55 Serves in U.S. Army
1955-56 Plays with Yankees; team wins another World Series in 1956
1957 Martin is blamed for a headline-making brawl at Manhattan's Copacabana Club after his twenty-ninth birthday party; he is traded in June to the Kansas City Athletics and again at the end of the season, to Detroit
1958 Is traded to Cleveland; gets hit in the face by a pitch, breaking his jaw and ending his playing season; is traded to Cincinnati
1959 Marries Gretchen Winkler, an airline stewardess; they will have a
1960 Jim Brewer and the Chicago Cubs file a $1 million lawsuit against Martin after a brawl with Brewer on the pitcher's mound; Martin is traded to the Milwaukee Braves
1961 Is traded to the Minnesota Twins
1962-64 Works as scout for the Minnesota Twins
1965-67 Works as third-base coach for Minnesota Twins
1968 Is hired as manager of Twins' Denver Bears farm club; team finishes fourth and makes playoffs
1969 Is hired as manager of Minnesota Twins; is fired at end of season
1971-73 Manages Detroit Tigers; is fired in September 1973
1973-75 Manages the Texas Rangers; is fired in July 1975
1975 Is hired to manage the New York Yankees; Yankees finish first in league in 1976 and 1977
1978 Martin resigns as Yankee manager after ongoing conflict with owner George Steinbrenner; Steinbrenner hires him back the next day for the 1979 season
1979 Steinbrenner fires Martin after Martin hits a marshmallow salesman in a barroom brawl in October
1980-82 Manages the Oakland Athletics, making "Billyball" famous; resigns after conflict with owner representative Roy Eisenhardt
1981 Is divorced from Gretchen Winkler
1983 Manages New York Yankees; is fired as manager after 1983 season but kept on payroll
1985 Is rehired as manager of Yankees but fired at end of season
1988 Marries Jill Guiver, a freelance photographer, with Mickey Mantle as best man; is hired for fifth time as manager of Yankees; is beaten up in a barroom brawl in Texas after losing a game in May; Steinbrenner fires him as manager in June but keeps him on as special adviser son, Billy Joseph
1989 Dies of injuries sustained in a car accident on Christmas night, December 25, in Binghamton, New York, at age 61
1990 Martin's son, Billy Joe, throws out the ball to open the New York Yankees season; the Yankees win

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Famous Sports StarsBaseballBilly Martin Biography - "belli," But Tough, New York Yankee, Chronology, The Hard Years, Career Changes - SELECTED WRITINGS BY MARTIN: