Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner, together again?
The possibility came up this week when Steinbrenner, the owner of the Yankees, asked permission from Oakland A's owner Roy Eisenhardt to talk to Martin, now the A's manager after being fired twice by Steinbrenner.
Martin says George hasn't spoken to him. "The phone hasn't rung," Martin said.
"Manager's office, Billy the Kid speaking. Keep it short, I've got a beer commercial to do, and we're playing the dog-breath Yankees tonight."
"I want you to manage my team again."
"Who is this?"
"Billy, it hasn't been the same around here without you. Those were the days."
"Is this an obscene phone call?"
"I was wondering, Billy. We've had three managers this year and not one wanted to duke it out with anybody. It's no accident we're out of the pennant race already. The only excitement we've had is Dave Winfield suing me for a few million. I miss you, Billy."
"This is an obscene phone call. George, who gave you this number?"
"I want you back in New York. The sportswriter you punched out in Reno, the marshmallow salesman in Minnesota, the time you called me a convicted liar, the day you wanted to punch out Reggie, the part in your book where you say I wiretapped your office phone -- I want all that again."
"Stop blubbering, George. I can't understand what you're saying."
"You're the best, Billy, and we went to the World Series together twice. That means something, doesn't it? You belong in the hallowed pinstripes of the Yankees."
"I have two years left on my contract with the A's."
"So what's a contract mean? How many times did I fire you with time left on your contract? Tell the A's you made a mistake and now you want to go home to the sacred turf of Yankee Stadium. Tell them it's for the good of all baseball to save the game in New York. Tell them you left your laundry in Reggie's locker and need to pick it up."
"Money, George, let's talk money. Start with a dollar a year more than Winfield makes."
"You got it."
"A private plane for me to all the games."
"The presidential suite for me in every city."
"Right. And we'll have fun again, Billy."
"They were the good ol' days, weren't they? I remember the first time you fired me. In '77 we won 100 games for the first time in 14 years. Then halfway through '78, you fired me after I said Reggie is a born liar and you're a convicted liar. Such fun we had."
"And I hired you right back. Liz takes Burton back, I take you back. But we finished fourth in '80 and you punched that marshmallow guy. I had no choice, Billy."
"You had to fire me. You'd given me your Seven Commandments to live by. I'll never forget that list of do's and don'ts. 'Thou shalt make the Yankees proud of you,' is what it added up to. One thing I said about you then is, 'He's ruining my life.' And I put it in my book about you bugging my office to eavesdrop on my conversations. The lawsuit you filed for that was a lot of fun, too."
"It was a laugh, me claiming 'the book contains a number of defamatory falsehoods.' I'm glad you didn't take it personally, Billy."
"Before I come back to the Yankees, there are a few more things we need to talk about."
"No more interference from you, George. None of your calls telling me who to play and where to play them. You won't dictate the batting order. Okay?"
"Cross my heart."
"No more 'inspirational' speeches from you. No more tirades, no more patting the fellows on the back."
"But I am the Yankees."
"If I'm the manager, it's going to be my team, George. You can sit up in the bleachers and watch with the rest of the fans. Be careful on the elevator going up. If you want to talk to me, you can call my secretary and make an appointment."
"It's been wonderful talking to you again, Billy. Let me ask you one other thing. Do you have Earl Weaver's phone number?"