All right, it's
quiz time, Baseball 101. True or false:
1) One big reason
why Billy Martin has had such remarkable managerial success in reviving
listless teams in Minnesota, Detroit, Texas, New York and now Oakland is his
genius for inspiring young ballplayers.
2) Another reason
for Martin's repeated success is his insistence on having a team that steals
3) O.K., Nolan
Ryan loses nearly as many games as he wins, but give him a lead in the late
innings and he is incomparable, almost unbeatable.
4) And even
though Ryan is paid an enormous salary, he more than earns it as a big gate
5) Montreal had
better watch out for September. The Expos blew their chances of winning the NL
East the last two seasons by cooling off in that month.
6) Any analyst
who picked the champion Phillies to finish fifth last year ought to turn in his
There you have
it. Easy quiz, isn't it? Every real fan within earshot of Joe Garagiola knows
that all these statements are true, right?
1) Of Billy
Martin's teams, only Oakland and Texas could be called young. By the time of
the All-Star break, his first Minnesota squad had only one non-pitching starter
under the age of 27. His first Detroit team had only one under 28. His first
Yankee team had two under 27, but one, age 26, was replaced by a 31-year-old
the next year. The secret must lie elsewhere.