Alfred Manuel Martin Jr., 16 May 1928 - 25 Dec 1989
Oil on canvas
Sight: 40.3 x 30.5cm (15 7/8 x 12")
Frame: 64.1 x 53.3 x 4.4cm (25 1/4 x 21 x 1 3/4")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Billy Martin was always a wild card. As an infielder with the Yankees in the 1950s, he contrasted average regular-season play with postseason sparkle that produced World Series victories for New York in 1952 and 1953. Unfortunately, the combative behavior that cost Martin his job with the Yankees in 1957 remained a liability as he later bounced around the league. After retiring from play in 1961, Martin switched to managing and built a reputation for his ability to turn underperforming ball clubs into winners. Named Manager of the Year on three occasions, Martin won five division titles, two American League pennants, and one World Series championship with the five franchises he piloted. Despite his successes, Martin's volatility on and off the field made it difficult for him to keep a job, and his serial firings by Yankees owner George Steinbrenner became legendary.