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Billy Martin

Return To The Yankees

Just eleven days after the Rangers let him go, the New York Yankees asked Martin to be manager. In New York he began a tumultuous relationship with owner George Steinbrenner, who wanted control as much as Martin did. However, as Martin took the position once held by his mentor, Casey Stengel, he began to work miracles. With some new players, the team came in first place in 1976 but lost the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. In 1977 they came in first again and this time won the World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Martin managed for the first half of the 1978 season, but the tension with Steinbrenner, coupled with conflicts with player Reggie Jackson, pushed Martin to the breaking point. In late July he told sportswriters he was disgusted with both men.

"The two of them deserve each other," he said. "One's a born liar," (referring to Jackson) "and the other's convicted." (Steinbrenner had been convicted of perjury in 1972 in an elections law violation case.) He told the writers to print his statement and then resigned from the Yankees. The next day, Steinbrenner invited him back as manager for the 1979 season. He made the announcement at Yankee Old-Timers' Day, to the delight of 46,000 fans, who gave Martin a seven-minute standing ovation. Bob Lemon from Chicago took over for the rest of the 1978 season, and the Yankees won the World Series, so Stein-brenner kept him on until the middle of the 1979 season, when he fired Lemon and got Martin back.

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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: