Wednesday, February 18, 2009

#33 & 34 -- Billy Martin and "In Action"

Billy Martin

This is a famous card of Billy. Look at the middle finger on his left hand. Is he really flipping the photographer the bird or is he just comfortably leaning on the bat? I'll leave it to you.

The Tigers took the pennant this year, becoming the second team Billy led to the playoffs. He won the AL West with the Twins in 1969, but beat up a starting pitcher and ignored the owner, so he got canned anyway. I wonder if he was trying to "instill hustle and desire" into him like the cardback suggests.

He took over the Tigers and led them to within an eyelash of the World Series (a rare Eddie Brinkman throwing error led to the game winning run in Game 5), but got fired anyway after finishing 3rd the next year. Billy was fired more than any other manager, but the only one of his teams to not make the playoffs were the sad sack Rangers, although he guided them to a surprising second place finish in 1974. He "left" 9 managing assignments and the only two where he "left" with a less than .500 record in his last year was with the Rangers and the '82 A's.

Don’t tell me you didn’t see the "In Action" card coming. What is Billy Martin’s In Action card going to have? He’s arguing with the ump. He’s probably using the kind of language his left hand did in the previous card, but he hasn’t boiled over to kicking dirt around yet. Check out that vein about ready to pop on the right side of his neck. This may be the most appropriate In Action card in the entire set.


  1. Billy's leaning on the bat in a way that is natural for him to do so.

  2. If someone ever released a '100 Most Controversial Cards' this would be high on the list.

    I love the Zapruder-like enhancement you did of the finger area. It proves without a doubt the existence of at least a second shooter. I mean the intent of Billy to flip the camera off.

  3. It wasn't Eddie Brinkman who made the error.He missed most of the post season from an injury....

    Dick McAuliffe moved over to play shortstop and Tony Taylor played 2nd base.The umpire ruled that Norm Cash pulled his foot off the bag from McAuliffe's throw