Ray Negron's Playball Weekly Blog

What would my Dad do with Volpe….Billy Martin Jr.

Billy Martin always told me never to be afraid to trust your heart, soul, and when it comes to baseball, your gut.

I will never forget in 1977 when the Yanks just weren’t hitting Billy decided to take a hat and put the different players on his starting nine and have Reggie Jackson and another player and himself pick the starting lineup out of the hat. It was just a gut feeling that he had. Oh By the way the Yanks won 8-6 and the next eight out of ten games.

Over the weekend Billy Martin Jr. asked me what would his dad do with the slumping Anthony Volpe situation. Would he have Volpe sent down for more seasoning given his young age?

I told Billy Jr no that his father would play him and probably lead him off in the lineup.

People say that Billy wasn’t good with young players however when it came to a special young player like Hall of Famer Rod Carew who Billy had in Minnesota when Billy was the manager there he did just that when Carew started the season in a slump. As we all know Carew became one of the game’s all-time greats and The rest is history. I honestly believe that because the special ability of Volpe and the kind of person that Volpe is Billy’s gut would of told him to lead him off in the lineup!

I know this is the era of analytics so the computer may say something else but I also know that sometimes you can also look back at history and see what may of also worked in this situation.

Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa always said that in the dugout Billy Martin was baseball’s best manager and he would never question a Billy baseball move. That’s why I hope that eventually, they consider Volpe as a lead-off hitter because that would be a Billy move, but then again I have always been a romantic when it comes to baseball… However, Let’s not forget that it did work during this spring training when Volpe hit in the lead-off spot.

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