The Ballad of Billy and George: The Tempestuous Baseball Marriage of Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner

The Ballad of Billy and George: The Tempestuous Baseball Marriage of Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner

by Phil Pepe
     
 

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They were compared to Mutt and Jeff, Hatfield and McCoy, and even Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton: two stubborn and driven men whose on-again off-again partnership entertained the nation for two decades.

When Yankees owner George Steinbrenner hired former player Billy Martin to manage the famous baseball franchise, they immediately won two American League

Overview

They were compared to Mutt and Jeff, Hatfield and McCoy, and even Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton: two stubborn and driven men whose on-again off-again partnership entertained the nation for two decades.

When Yankees owner George Steinbrenner hired former player Billy Martin to manage the famous baseball franchise, they immediately won two American League pennants and the 1977 World Series. But Billy was a scrappy, defiant son to Steinbrenner’s role as fickle father. Feuds erupted and separations ensued when each accused the other of disrespect, and the dysfunctional house that Ruth built was frequently broken up when the two would part ways, only to reunite within weeks. Through a total of five partnerships and five firings, Steinbrenner and Martin  created great baseball drama and had some championship seasons along the way.

The Ballad of Billy and George is a blow-by-blow history of their combustible chemistry, drawn from interviews with Billy Martin Jr., Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry, Sparky Lyle, Goose Gossage, Bucky Dent, Clete Boyer, Graig Nettles, Lou Piniella, Clyde King, and Gene Michael. Veteran sportswriter and author Phil Pepe also recalls one-on-one conversations with Billy Martin.

 

This story of the tumultuous love-hate relationship between Steinbrenner and Martin is affectionately presented by Pepe, who covered the Yankees every day during these rollicking times and who offers a first-hand account of what he remembers as “the best of times and the worst of times.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781599212821
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/2008
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
9.52(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.07(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Ballad of Billy & George

 

In the beginning, Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner got along swimmingly.
“Their common denominator,” said Martin’s lawyer, Judge Eddie Sapir of New Orleans, “was that every day they won a ballgame the Lord added some life back into each of them. And every day they lost, the Lord took a little life away from them. That was their common denominator: their burning desire to win.”

As owner and manager of the New York Yankees, George Steinbrenner and
Billy Martin made beautiful music in their first two full seasons together with two American League pennants and one World Series championship . . . and a lot of noise, a cacophony that reverberated across the baseball landscape and still resonates to this day.

There was a friendship between them,” said Martin’s son, Billy Martin Jr.
“That friendship would turn sour at times. They were two men with large egos and those kinds of people butt heads. There were times when I know dad wanted to rip George’s throat out. And there were times when he wanted to give the man a hug. I think theirs was the classic love-hate relationship.”

Meet the Author

Phil Pepe has covered sports in New York for more than five decades. He was the Yankees beat writer for the New York World Telegram & Sun from 1961-64, and for the New York Daily News from 1971-84. He is the author of more than 40 books, including My Favorite Summer: 1956 with Mickey Mantle (Doubleday), which reached No. 7 on the New York Times bestseller list;  BillyBall with Billy Martin (Doubleday); and Talkin’ Baseball: An Oral History of Baseball in the 1970s (Ballantine).

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