Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius (Paperback)

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A New York Times bestseller. From award-winning sports columnist Bill Pennington comes the definitive biography of one of baseball's most celebrated, mercurial, and misunderstood figures.

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 from 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.

About the Author

BILL PENNINGTON is an award-winning sportswriter for the New York Times and the author of Billy Martin, On Par, and The Heisman. A former syndicated columnist, Pennington was also a beat writer for the New York Yankees. A fifteen-time finalist and seven-time winner of the Associated Press Sports Editors’ annual writing award, Pennington lives with his family in Warwick, New York.

Praise For…

"Energetically reported and skillfully written, the book is enormously entertaining. Without pretension, it explores the question whether a baseball lifer can actually be a tragic figure in the classic sense—a man destroyed by the very qualities than made him great." The Wall Street Journal  “Through interviews with Martin’s long-silent widow, his son and others who knew and played with and for him, we get a complete picture — womanizing, drinking, fighting and the rest.”  New York Post “Sprawling…thorough research.”  Chicago Tribune “It's all here, copiously reported, including interviews with more than 200 people, many of whom have since died, making this a one-of-a-kind work.”  Newsday  "All the notable moments are here...Baseball (and Yankees) fans will devour this like ballpark popcorn, and all will muse about the many what-ifs of Martin's motley life."  Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW    "Martin’s life was a rollicking one, and as with the life, so with the book. Pennington’s take is great fun, and the author’s drive to talk to everyone who may have known Martin—from the most arrogant star to the humblest bartender—is impressive."  —BookPage     "A motley cast of baseball Hall of Famers, including Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle, Rod Carew, Ricky Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Tommy Lasorda, and Earl Weaver, make appearances in this must-read for fans of the great American pastime."  Publishers Weekly   "[Pennington] provides what is likely to be the definitive profile, which, as such, belongs in most library sports collections, especially those where Yankee fans cluster."  —Mark Levine, Booklist   "His study of Martin is comprehensive and detailed, offering the reader rich details on his early years and his time as a player for several teams...Pennington expertly combines material from his subject’s personal and professional life, leaving the impression of a complicated and flawed but unforgettable man."  Library Journal  “Two words of advice: read this. Bill Pennington not only writes the sprawling, brawling, no-punches-pulled narrative Martin deserves, but also deftly illuminates the humanity of one of baseball's epic characters.” —Tom Verducci, bestselling author of THE YANKEE YEARS (with Joe Torre)     "The hair on my forearms was standing up by the end of the fifth paragraph of this book's introduction. I knew Billy Martin. I covered Billy Martin. But I never knew him like this. Congrats to Bill Pennington for the definitive work on baseball's flawed genius.'' —Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe columnist and bestselling author of FRANCONA (with Terry Francona) and SENIOR YEAR     “Billy Martin has been dead for 25 years? Wow. That means there's a generation or two that know nothing about this character of baseball characters, this incandescent ballplayer/manager/jerk/sweetheart, this irrepressible brawler with a grand mind for the game. Bill Pennington cures all that  with 'Billy Martin, Baseball's Flawed Genius.' This is a terrific tale about a roller coaster life. Pour yourself a cocktail and enjoy. The descriptions of the fistfights alone are worth the price of admission.” —Leigh Montville, bestselling aut —

Product Details
ISBN: 9780544709034
ISBN-10: 0544709039
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016
Pages: 560
Language: English