From BR Bullpen
Víctor Jesus Martínez
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 120
 Biographical Information
"Are the Sox missing a locker room leader like Victor Martinez during their struggles? He was such a positive voice during the year and a half he was here . . . Tremendous observation . . . I think they do miss it. Victor was very outspoken and became an instant leader. A very effective player on and off the field. Understood the moment." - a question and answer from the Ask Nick mailbag at boston.com, Sept. 26, 2011
Victor Martinez is a star who, through 2011, has played 10 seasons in the major leagues. He tied a major league record by hitting 4 doubles in a game on June 1, 2010. Primarily a catcher during his career, he has a career batting average, through 2011, over .300 and has 275 doubles.
He is one of a dozen players born in Venezuela in 1978. Others include Endy Chavez and Juan Rivera. Victor was signed as a free agent in 1996, and continued to play in his home country until 1999, when he entered the U.S. minors. By 2001, he was hitting .329 with Kinston, and the following year he improved to .336 with 22 home runs.
That got him a cup of coffee in the majors. Coming up in September 2002, he hit .281 and slugged over .400 but was again in the minors for most of 2003, again hitting over .300. He came back up to the Indians for 49 games, though, and while he didn't show much power, his .289 batting average was impressive enough that he stayed up the following year.
In 2004 he started to show power, with 38 doubles and 23 home runs. That year, he drove in over 100 runs for the first time in his major league career.
Over the years, while Victor has usually been an above-average hitter, he hasn't shown real high OPS+ scores. His highest ever in Cleveland was 130, in 2005, but it was far from high enough to be among the league leaders in that category. He has however received MVP votes in 5 different years, although finishing well down on the ballot.
"Victor Martinez sat stunned in front of his locker in Cleveland’s clubhouse — for the last time. He squeezed his young son to his chest and wiped tears from both of their faces. . . 'It’s tough because I’m leaving my house,' he said, his voice choked with emotion. 'This was my house. It’s really tough.' " - report of the 2009 Victor Martinez trade at NBC Sports, July 31, 2009
He was traded to the Boston Red Sox in July 2009, and hit quite well for his new team during the later part of the season. He had seen post-season action with the Indians in 2007, hitting well, and also appeared in the post-season in 2009 with the Red Sox. 2009 also marked the year when Victor started to play a lot of first base along with catcher. In 2010, though, he was back to playing mostly catcher, with Jason Varitek showing signs of age at catcher, while Kevin Youkilis was solidly entrenched at first.
After becoming a free agent following that season, he signed with the Detroit Tigers for 2011, and they made him primarily a designated hitter. This is perhaps not surprising given that Detroit had young Alex Avila who they wanted in the lineup, but knee problems also prevented Victor from doing any catching after mid-season. He hit very well, however, with an OPS+ of 132, and 40 doubles, 103 RBI and a .330 batting average, creating an excellent one-two punch in the middle of the line-up with Miguel Cabrera. Martinez helped to bring the Tigers to the division championship and hit a pair of homers in the postseason as Detroit bowed out in the ALCS. However, he suffered a torn ACL while training to get ready for the 2012 season, an injury that would cause him to miss the entire season. When he underwent an operation in January, it was revealed that then injury was even more serious than thought, as Martinez had suffered microfractures in addition to the torn ligament. That meant that any rehabilitation would only start at the time the season was almost over. The Tigers reacted to his injury by signing free agent 1B Prince Fielder to a huge long-term deal, giving indications that they were very concerned about Victor's long-term prospects for recovery.
Martinez did miss the entire 2012 season, and the Tigers' run to the 2012 World Series, but was back on the field for the start of spring training in 2013, fully recovered. He was expected to be the team's primary DH, taking over for Delmon Young, who had been let go in the off-season.
He had probably his best season in 2014, when he hit over 30 homers for the first time. He was the American League Player of the Month in August when he bated .350 with 5 doubles and 6 homers, scored 20 runs and drove in 30.
He is not to be confused with a well-known professional bodybuilder also named Victor Martinez . Over the years, there have also been several minor league ballplayers by the name of Victor Martinez.
 Notable Achievements
- 2001 MVP Carolina League Kinston Indians
- 5-time AL All-Star (2004, 2007, 2009, 2010 & 2014)
- AL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2004)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 5 (2004, 2005, 2007, 2009 & 2010)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 4 (2004, 2007, 2009 & 2011)
 Records Held
- Tied MLB record by hitting four doubles in a game, June 1, 2010