Happy Friday y’all!
Yes I said y’all, deal with it.
My mind is a bit scattered today. For some reason I got the Yankees situation shoved down my throat this morning by local talk radio personality Bernie Miklasz. For those readers who are not really baseball fans, the Yankees play in New York and their manager was Joe Girardi. They almost made it to the World Series which is a pretty big deal. Joe was at the end of his contract and the powers that be (Brian Cashman) advised the ownership that he should not be retained…so he wasn’t.
Miklasz’s argument basically was in relation to more successful teams like the Yankees not standing pat even though they appear to be having success; as opposed to the Cardinals (who play in St Louis) that are standing pat with a patsy manager (Mike Matheny). This season Girardi took a young team that was supposed to be a year or two away from being a postseason contender and nearly got them to the grandest stage in the sport. Matheny took a team that was, in theory, supposed to contend for a postseason berth and after many, many, many roster moves led them to a third place finish. St Louis is widely known as a supportive baseball town, so mediocre finishes are not well received by the fan base. Many fans have been calling for Matheny’s ouster since the 2015 team won 100 games only to crumble in the playoffs that year. Literally the team has been in decline ever since, at least by the win-loss definitions.
As you may or may not be aware, my mind jumps tracks and does not follow the linear all the time. With Matheny’s situation defying reason and logic, I reached out into the cosmos and tried to latch onto another managerial candidate in the past that defied logic. And bingo: Billy Martin was brought forth!
For the younger generation, let me acquaint you with Billy Martin. For those not wishing to be enlightened on baseball history, please feel free to traipse onto some other blog post of mine!
Billy Martin was the manager for the New York Yankees officially five times.
Hired in August 1975…resigned in 1978.
Rehired in June 1979…fired at the end of the 1979 season.
Hired again in 1983…fired after the season, replaced by Yogi Berra.
Hired 16 games into the 1985 season replacing Yogi Berra…fired at the end of 1985 season replaced by Lou Pinella.
Hired in 1988 to replace Lou Pinella…fired less than halfway into season and replaced by Lou Pinella.
In the offseason of 1989, Billy was tabbed to be the manager for the 1990 season but died in an auto accident on Christmas Day (12-25-1989).
Now for the comparison to Matheny! For this exercise, I will focus only on Martin’s time with the New York Yankees. For the record, Billy Martin did manage four other franchises (Minnesota, Detroit, Oakland and Texas)
Matheny W-L 544-428 (.560 Win PCT) 6 seasons – Postseason W-L 21-22 – 1 Pennant, 0 World Series Titles
Martin W-L 556-385 (.591 Win PCT) 8 seasons – Postseason W-L 10-10 – 2 Pennants, 1 World Series Title
Each manager had a 97 win season and a 100 win season. Both started managing when they were 41 years old. Neither was ever voted Manager of the Year for their league. Note: Martin managed in a time before the added rounds of the playoffs (i.e. the Wildcard ERA). Due to Martin’s propensity to get fired, he managed in parts of 8 seasons with the Yankees but only had 55 more total games managed than Matheny in his 6 seasons with the Cardinals (thus far).
I don’t really know how to wrap this segment up besides noting that Billy Martin was widely known as a good manager but lacked people skills. Matheny is widely considered a questionable manager with limited people skills. But the common denominator between the two, they are/were very dedicated to their teams and proud of their respective franchises. Martin won a championship in half the amount of postseason tries as Matheny (two postseason appearances vs four for Matheny). In six seasons Matheny has zero championships and lost in his only World Series appearance. Martin had two World Series appearances with the Yankees, winning one. Will Matheny have as much overall longevity as a manager in the sport as Martin did? I doubt it…but you just never know.
Below are some links. The first one references the last time Billy got fired, which coincidentally happened on my birthday in the year 1988 or at least that was when the article was published. The others are commercials Billy was featured in and one clip is from game coverage where Billy was ejected. Enjoy!