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Tino Martínez

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Constantino Martínez

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[edit] Biographical Information

Tino Martinez was signed as a 1st round draft pick in the 1988 amateur draft by the Seattle Mariners and scout Luke Wrenn. He hit .369/~.401/.615 for Team USA in 1987. He was second to Ty Griffin among the team's regulars in average and led the team with 9 homers and 38 RBI. His 11 doubles tied Scott Livingstone for the most on the club. His 35 runs were third behind Griffin and Ted Wood. In the 1987 Pan American Games, Martinez collected 19 RBI in the round-robin phase to tie Orestes Kindelan for the lead. His 6 RBI in a single contest are a US record; Tommy Mendonca tied the mark in 2011. That year, he hit .407/.452/.796 in the World Cup, was named the All-Star first baseman and won the MVP award even though the USA did not win the tourney. In the finale against Cuba, he homered twice. He scored 12 runs, hit 6 home runs and drove in 21 in the tournament. He tied Luis Casanova for second in RBI behind Robin Ventura, was third in hits behind Ventura and Antonio Pacheco and tied Omar Linares for second in home runs behind Casanova.

He began his major league career in 1990 and later joined the New York Yankees to finish out his career. During his career, he scored over 1000 runs, drove in over 1200 runs, and hit over 300 home runs. He had 100 or more RBIs in six seasons and was on the All-Star team twice.

Martinez spent the first part of his career with the Mariners. He had several mediocre seasons, but broke out in 1995 when he drove in 111 runs, hit 31 home runs and batted .293. The Mariners played in the postseason for the first time that year. The following season, 1996, he joined the Yankees. Replacing Yankee legend Don Mattingly, he had big shoes to fill, but he was ultimately embraced by the fans and became one of the franchise's most popular players. It helped that the Yankees won their first World Series title since 1978 that first year.

Tino's most notable achievements in his career came when he helped lead the Yankees to World Series championships in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000. The four titles formed what is considered one of the great dynasties the game has ever seen. He also won the Home Run Derby in 1997.

Martinez hit two of the most memorable home runs in Yankees World Series history. The first came off Mark Langston of the San Diego Padres in Game 1 of the 1998 Series. The Yankees had tied the game earlier in the inning with a Chuck Knoblauch three-run home run. The following three batters got on base, and Martinez came to the plate. After taking a very close ball 3, he hit a grand slam into the upper deck on a 3-2 count, giving the Yankees a four-run lead.

The second came on October 31, 2001. With two outs in the 9th inning and the Yankees trailing the Arizona Diamondbacks by two runs, Martinez came to the plate with a runner on. He hit a home run off closer Byung-Hyun Kim. The feat was repeated the following night by Scott Brosius, in one of the most amazing series of events in baseball history.

His best season statistically came in 1997, when he was second in the American League in home runs and RBI (with 44 and 141 respectively), and finished second in the AL MVP voting. Ironically, this was the only season between 1996 and 2000 when the Yankees did not win the World Series.

After the 2001 season, Tino went on to play for the St. Louis Cardinals for two seasons, replacing the aging legend Mark McGwire. He spent the 2991 season with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, his hometown team. His production during these three years declined, and he went through several prolonged slumps.

Martinez returned for a second tour of duty with the Yankees in the 2005 season. From May 7-11, Martinez hit 5 home runs in 5 straight games, which was one more than his previous record set from June 27-July 1, 2001. While he was held homerless on May 12th, Tino hit two homers on May 15th to give him 8 homers in 8 games. However, on November 8th, the Yankees declined their $3 million option on Martinez, making him a free agent. He decided to retire at that point.

Martinez signed with ESPN on February 21, 2006 to be an analyst on Baseball Tonight, his playing days now over. He planned to balance these part-time duties with finishing his studies at the University of Tampa, where he was 19 credit hours short of a degree in business management. In 2007, he became a volunteer assistant coach for the University of South Florida under his college coach Lelo Prado. He later worked as an analyst on Yankees broadcasts on the YES Network, working with Michael Kay and John Flaherty. In 2013 he was hired to be the Miami Marlins' hitting coach under new manager Mike Redmond. However, Martinez resigned on July 28th amid allegations that he was verbally and physically abusive to players. He was replaced by John Pierson. On June 21, 2014 the Yankees dedicated a plaque to Martinez inside Monument Park.

[edit] Notable Achievements

[edit] Further Reading

  • Associated Press: "Yankees honor Tino Martinez with Monument Park plaque", June 21, 2014. [1]

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