Synopses & Reviews
The definitive biography of one of baseballandrsquo;s most celebrated, mercurial, and misunderstood figuresand#160;
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 heandrsquo;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 elseandmdash;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 for 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 egoandmdash;or some combination of all threeandmdash;for his short sixty-one years among us.
"Harkens back to an era when ball players were teammates because of the uniform they wore, not the games they played. Driving Mr. Yogi is as sweet as the unlikely friendship between Berra and his designated chauffeur Ron "Gator" Guidry who, along with author Harvey Araton, handles this precious baseball cargo with requisite TLC."—Jane Leavy, bestselling author of The Last Boy and Sandy Koufax "Hop in, sit back and enjoy the ride with Yogi and Gator. With grace and humor, Harvey Araton makes certain it will put a smile on your face."—Tom Verducci, bestselling author (with Joe Torre) of The Yankee Years "In Driving Mr. Yogi, one of America's finest sportswriters writes about the magical relationship. Any baseball fan would love to be at spring training, sun shining, smell of mowed grass in the air, and just listen to the stories of those two wonderful men. Harvey Araton lets us do just that."—Joe Posnanski, author of The Machine and The Soul of Baseball "How would you like to hang out with Yogi Berra and Ron Guidry during spring training? Funny and sweet, Driving Mr. Yogi transports you there."—Jim Bouton, former major league player and author of Ball Four "Among the most thoughtful journalists of his time, Harvey Araton delivers one of baseball's greatest stories never told in this poetic tribute to the relationship shared by Yogi Berra and Ron Guidry. A must read for anyone who cares about baseball, loyalty, and love."—Ian O'Connor, New York Times bestselling author of The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter and Arnie & Jack "Spending time with Yogi Berra is a unique pleasure, as Ron Guidry, a special guy himself, can attest. Now thanks to Harvey Araton's delightful book you, too, can get to know one of the world's great treasures and revel in a remarkable relationship."—Tim McCarver, sportscaster, Fox Sports
andldquo;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 Martinand#39;s motley life.andrdquo; andmdash;and#160;Kirkus Reviews,
andldquo;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.andrdquo;and#160;andmdash;and#160;Publishers Weekly
andldquo;[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.andrdquo;and#160;andmdash; Mark Levine, Booklistand#160;
and#160;andldquo;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 subjectandrsquo;s personal and professional life, leaving the impression of a complicated and flawed but unforgettable man.andrdquo; andmdash;and#160;Library Journal
andldquo;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 baseballandrsquo;s epic characters.andrdquo;and#160;andmdash; Tom Verducci, best-selling author of The Yankee Yearsand#160;(with Joe Torre)
andldquo;The hair on my forearms was standing up by the end of the fifth paragraph of this bookandrsquo;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 baseballandrsquo;s flawed genius.andrdquo;and#160;andmdash; Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe columnist and best-selling author of Francona (with Terry Francona) and Senior Year
andldquo;Billy Martin has been dead for twenty-five years? Wow. That means thereandrsquo;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 and#160;withand#160;Billy Martin: Baseballandrsquo;s Flawed Genius.and#160;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.andrdquo;and#160;andmdash; Leigh Montville, best-selling author of Ted Williams, The Big Bam, and Eveland#160;
andldquo;It has been easy to think of Billy Martin as a cartoonandmdash;one created by the media and abetted by the man himself. But he was a great American, as important to understanding our game, and our nation, as Ted Williams or Joe DiMaggio. Youandrsquo;ll never think of Billy Martin in the same way again, thanks to Bill Penningtonandrsquo;s masterpiece of a biography.andrdquo;and#160;andmdash; John Thorn, official historian, Major League Baseball
Narrative of the friendship that's developed between Ron Guidry and Yogi Berra as a result of Berra's annual trips to Florida for Yankees spring training.
“Funny, revealing, and surprising . . . anything that brings new Yogi Berra stories is a good book." —MLB.com
Driving Mr. Yogi is the story of how a unique friendship between a pitcher and catcher is renewed every year. It began in 1999, when Yogi Berra was reunited with the Yankees after a long self-exile, the result of being unceremoniously fired by George Steinbrenner fourteen years before. A reconciliation between Berra and the Boss meant that Berra would attend spring training again. Guidry befriended “Mr. Yogi” instantly. After all, Berra had been a mentor in the clubhouse back when Guidry was pitching for the Yankees. Guidry knew the young players would benefit greatly from Mr. Yogi's encyclopedic knowledge of the game, just as Guidry had during his playing days, so he encouraged Berra to share his insights.
Soon, an offhand batting tip from Mr. Yogi turned Nick Swisher’s season around. Stories about handling a hitter like Ted Williams or catching Don Larsen’s perfect game captured their imaginations. And in Yogi, Guidry found not just an elder companion or source of amusement — he found a best friend.
At turns tender and laugh-out-loud funny, and teeming with unforgettable baseball yarns that span more than fifty years, Driving Mr. Yogi is a universal story about the importance of wisdom being passed from one generation to the next, as well as a reminder that time is what we make of it and compassion never gets old.
“A refreshing change from the normal diet of sports books out there . . . A warm, sentimental look at a baseball icon." —Tampa Tribune
From an award-winning New York Times sports columnist, the definitive biography of one of baseballand#39;s most celebrated, mercurial, and misunderstood figuresandmdash;legendary manager and baseball genius Billy Martin
About the Author
BILL PENNINGTON is an award-winning sportswriter for the New York Times. A former syndicated columnist, Pennington was a beat writer who covered much of Billy Martinand#39;s tenure with the New York Yankees. A fifteen-time finalistandnbsp;and six-time winner of the Associated Press Sports Editorsand#39; annual writing award, Pennington lives with his family in Warwick, New York. This is his fourth book.
Table of Contents
The Pickup 1
The Late Show 30
Shared Values 77
Total Recall 93
It Takes a Clubhouse 113
Rons Rule 129
Frog Legs and Friends 142
Swish Hitting 154
A Yankees Calling 171