The story of how Billy Martin lost his job with the Yankees after a fight with a marshmallow salesman in October of 1979 is well known. But there’s an under-the-radar marshmallow story that’s just as good and perhaps even more volatile.
In April of 1980, Martin brought his new team, the Oakland A’s, to Bloomington, MN for the first time since the celebrated incident and things did not go well. Oakland starter Matt Keough lasted just two-thirds of an inning before Martin had to pull him. On his way back to the bench, Martin was forced to dodge marshmallows thrown at him by a fan sitting behind the Oakland dugout. Billy said something to the fan and then ducked into the dugout.
In the 9th inning, the fan once again seized the opportunity to throw marshmallows at the Oakland manager. This time Martin was set to go after him and had a foot on the railing to go up into the stands before umpires and others intervened.
Martin pulled no punches in his post-game media session, including a few choice words that would undoubtedly cause a suspension or worse were they to cross the lips of a current manager.
“He did it once and then went and hid like a baby,” Martin told the Associated Press. “But my coach caught him the second time and the police got him. I hope they fine him.”
“The Minnesota fans are good fans. This was just one guy acting like a jerk. There’s no room for that in baseball. I can tolerate a lot of things, but I can’t tolerate throwing stuff on the field. He could have put somebody’s eye out.”
Incidents of marshmallow induced eye injuries are rare in baseball, but Martin was on a roll and he couldn’t be stopped. Then he really went on the offensive.
“It was a young kid with a French queer’s hat on. When I went up there, I didn’t know whether to kiss him or punch him. I thought he would have caressed me. He was a big, fat fag.”
“It had to be a fag because he was throwing marshmallows.”