This Day in Baseball History: June 18th, 1977

They were just trying to hug.

On June 18, 1977:

Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson got into an altercation.

When the New York Yankees signed Reggie Jackson during the 1976 off-season, most of the Yankees organization was excited to have him, but that did not include manager Billy Martin. Jackson seemed to immediately enjoy the New York spotlight, telling the media about “the magnitude of me” and being “the straw that stirs the drink”. His attitude, however, did not endear him to Martin, who had quite an ego himself.

On June 18th, Jim Rice doubled to right in the sixth inning. Except, in Martin’s mind, it shouldn’t have been a double. Jackson lollygagged over to the ball, allowing the sloth-like Rice to reach second. Before another batter could come to the plate, Martin replaced the pitcher and took Jackson out as well, replacing him with Paul Blair (there are no such double-switches in the AL with the DH in place). When both returned to the dugout, Martin shouted that Jackson showed him up (the two had feuded often by then), and Jackson yelled that Martin’s heavy drinking (Martin was known to party now and then) had caused an impairment in judgment. Despite the obvious size difference, Martin attacked Jackson, but luckily, Yogi Berra and Elston Howard restrained Martin. Red Sox fans, and an NBC camera, saw this and began cheering wildly.

The situation seemed to calm down the next day, but Martin realized he was going to be on the losing end of this one. Steinbrenner didn’t like him, and the public was in love with the new “Mr. October”. But the Yankees went on to win the World Series (behind Jackson’s famous performance) that season. Things finally boiled over in 1978. Martin suspended Jackson for disregarding signs, and out of frustration, he called Jackson a “liar” and Steinbrenner “convicted” (felon). He wasn’t getting out of that one, and he “resigned” the next day. Martin, however, would be back — four more times — but never for more than one season. It seemed to be that relationship that couples have where they are so passionately in love, but they have those knock-out-drag-out fights that always end the relationship. The sex (World Series) is good, but the collateral damage (reputations, drama, etc.) isn’t. But the sex always keeps them coming back for more, even if it doesn’t always last. The grass is always greener, right?

Trivia Time
Name the other years Martin managed the Yankees.

Yesterday’s Answer –> 1985.


2 Responses to “This Day in Baseball History: June 18th, 1977”

  1. Burkester Says:

    Wow I never realized Jackson could have such an attitude. It's definitely going to be a hoot to watch him at Sports Legends Challenge!

  2. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    I think he was as known as much for that as for him hitting all those home runs. In fact, those home runs probably caused the attitude. Regardless, welcome, and what is the Sports Legends Challenge.

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