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 Post subject: Milton Bradley? Say it ain't so!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:45 am 
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Bradley to the Yanks?

I agree with the subhed on that column (no registration required).

One thing I haven't seen, though, in today's coverage or yesterday's story in the Daily News that mentioned the Yanks' possible interest in Bradley: Whom would the Dodgers be asking for in return for such a reprobate?

I really hope wiser heads prevail in the Yanks' front office. Hotheads (Bobby Bonilla and Carl Everett come to mind) never do well in the media cauldron that is New York City.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:31 pm 
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Yeah, Billy Martin was a disaster.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:02 pm 
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Wabberjocky wrote:
Yeah, Billy Martin was a disaster.


You said it. Who knows how great a manager he could have been if he had put that drink down.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:07 pm 
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Billy Martin was one of the greatest managers in baseball history. Every team he took over, he made better.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:24 pm 
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Wabberjocky wrote:
Billy Martin was one of the greatest managers in baseball history. Every team he took over, he made better.


Wabber, you don't have to tell me that. Martin was the ultimate quick-fixer. Look at his record in his first two years with a given team and then subsequently with that same team--if he even made it beyond two consecutive years with a given team. If he hadn't been an alcoholic, he might well have challenged Connie Mack or John McGraw on the all-time wins list as a manager.

But inevitably, Martin would get to drinking and thinking he was above everyone else in the organization, and he would do or say something that would get himself fired. He was extremely self-destructive (and ultimately died of what was probably a DWI incident, drunk at the wheel of his friend Billy Reedy's pickup truck on Christmas Day 1989).

Somehow it was apropos that alcohol had a hand in Martin's death, given how huge a role it played in his life.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:30 pm 
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Agreed. But it was part and parcel of who he was, and you have to take the good with the bad. And Martin's "good" exceeded the good of most managers in baseball. His quick fixes were sheer strategic genius, rooted in iron ass-kicking will.

He would have taken Milton Bradley and gotten a one or two great years out of him ... that is, before he would inevitably have to beat the living snot out of him.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 11:03 pm 
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Wabberjocky wrote:
He would have taken Milton Bradley and gotten a one or two great years out of him ... that is, before he would inevitably have to beat the living snot out of him.


And as a journalist, I have to smile at the truth in that statement, knowing how much great sports copy that would have made for.

As riveting as Jackson vs. Martin and Steinbrenner vs. Martin and Whitson vs. Martin were, I do believe you could have sold tickets to Bradley vs. Martin.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 1:19 am 
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I vote for Bradley vs. Carl Everett, with a Kenny Rogers vs. Francisco Cordero and Randy Johnson vs. bird kingdom undercard.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 8:48 am 
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Wabberjocky wrote:
He would have taken Milton Bradley and gotten a one or two great years out of him ... that is, before he would inevitably have to beat the living snot out of him.


People forget that Martin didn't win all of his fights. Reggie would have destroyed him. Bradley would turn him inside-out.

Yes, Billy got the most out of his teams in the short run, but after a few consecutive years he tended to ruin the starting pitchers. What he did to Oakland's great staff of the early 1980s was horrible. (Blue, McCatty, Langston, Kingman)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 1:51 pm 
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You speak the truth, Wayne ... three years after that big 1980 season, Oakland's Big Five — Mike Norris (284 IP), Matt Keough (250), Rick Langford (290), Steve McCatty (217) and Brian Kingman (211) — were toast.

But that was Billy Martin for you. I remember him once telling an interviewer: "My job is to win. Now. I don't care what I have to do to get there, but if you're on my team, you're going to do what I tell you to do, end of story."

One thing that gets overlooked in all the personality-shaded stories about Billy Martin is that he was probably the best one-run strategist of his time (at a time when everybody else wanted to be Earl Weaver without understanding what made Earl Weaver into Earl Weaver). He was brilliant at looking at his players and instinctively understanding who could hit-and-run, who could take an extra base, who could steal in what situations, who could work a walk. He was constantly pulling double steals, fake steals intended to rattle the pitcher, and so on. The cost was perhaps unforgiveably high, but he squeezed every ounce of ability out of the 25 men on his roster, which is more than can be said of most managers.


Last edited by Wabberjocky on Thu Nov 10, 2005 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 4:55 pm 
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Thanks for straightening out my memory of the Oakland starting pitchers, Wabber. I meant Mike Norris when I typed Vida Blue, and I definitely should have included Keough.

Yes, Billy Martin made teams winners (until he wore them out or wore out the owner's patience). His teams were fun to watch. He knew the game and certainly had passion for it.


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