NUMBER 1 by Billy & Peter Golenbock Martin
Kirkus Star


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Why was George Steinbrenner crying foul? Well, in addition to griping about intolerable interference with his managerial prerogatives, ex-Yankee pilot Martin charges--among other things--that Steinbrenner monitored his phone conversations, failed to come through with a promised tugboat after the club won the 1976 pennant, and threatened to ""destroy"" Martin by releasing a dossier on his private life. As a practical matter, Martin's aberrant behavior on and off the diamond has been widely reported and well documented, not only by the media but also in Maury Allen's Damn Yankee (p. 326). And apart from the above and the hard-to-swallow claim that Martin and his frequent antagonist Reggie Jackson are really fast friends, the Martin version of key events generally accords with other accounts. The exceptions include a new version of the Jim Brewer slugging in Chicago and the revelation that Martin didn't recompense the newsman he beat up in Reno late in 1978--his sponsor/host supplied the hush money. Otherwise, using a flashback format, Martin reviews his life and hard times, from his childhood on the sandlots of West Berkeley, Calif., through his latest firing by the Yankees and subsequent hiring by the Oakland A's Charley Finley for the 1980 season. In the interim, he proved himself a championship-caliber ballplayer, an enviably successful manager, and a world-class brawler. Here, with wordsmith Golenbock's assistance, he also proves himself unable to play ball with front-office types; in each and every case he's more sinned against than sinning. Rancorous, disingenuous, self-serving--and naturally fascinating.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1980
Publisher: Delacorte