Bill Virdon Autograph

Bill Virdon was the last Yankee manager of the unfortunate period between their mid-century dominance and the very turbulent early Steinbrenner renaissance. He was also the manager during the Yankees unhappy stay in Shea Stadium while Yankee Stadium was being renovated in 1975 and 1975. He was fired a little more than 100 games into the 1975 season and replaced by Billy Martin. He spent most of his playing career as  center fielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and his first managing job was with the Pirates also. Looking it up, I’m reminded of how much less stable a manager’s position used to be. They get fired now, to be sure, but his first year with the Pirates they won 96 games, came in first place, and lost the NL Championship to the Cincinnati Reds Big Red Machine, which could hardly be called a disappointment. During the off-season their star player Roberto Clemente was killed in a plane crash.  Not surprisingly, the next year they stumbled a bit, he took the blame, and he was replaced with 26 games left in the season.  Then after the Yankees fired him during the 1975 season he in turn replaced Preston Gomez as manager of the Houston Astros that same year. That sort of carousel does not happen so much any more, probably because the managers get paid so much more and teams do not wan’t to pay 2 managers for one season except under truly extreme circumstances.

Finally, I know. This is two non-drawn portraits in a row. Most of the collection is about those portraits but we need to get through these also. They are part of the story.

Received 6/11/1975.