The New York Yankees honored former first baseman Tino Martinez on Saturday with a plaque in Monument Park. The ceremony, which was held before Saturday's Yankee game against Baltimore, celebrated the four time World Series Champion.
Martinez who was a member of the 1988 US Olympic baseball team, played seven seasons for the New York Yankees. Martinez was a number one draft pick out of the University Of Tampa by the Seattle Mariners in 1988. As a member of the Mariners in 1995, Martinez had his best season to date with a .293 batting average, 31 home runs and 111 RBI. Martinez was traded to the Yankees the next season with Jeff Nelson, and Jim Mercir for Sterling Hitchcock and Russ Davis.
With the retirement of Yankees legend Don Mattingly, the Yankees tabbed the 29 year old Martinez as his replacement. "He had some really big shoes to fill," said former teammate and current Yankees manager, Joe Girardi. "(Don Mattingly), rightfully so, was a fan favorite and a great New York Yankee. Awesome first baseman, and Tino kind of had to earn his stripes and he did it fairly quickly. He did a really good job in handling that situation."
Martinez hit .276 with 109 home runs and 739 RBI in his Yankee career. Joe Girardi recalled how Martinez was always looking to improve as a player and always played with an edge.
Tino brought a real edge to the game and had high expectations. I actually remember there was one day, him and O'Neill, I was kind of in between their lockers, and they were arguing. Paul was jealous of the home runs Tino was hitting, Tino was jealous of the average that Paul had, and I'm thinking, 'Shut up. I don't need to hear this. Here I'm fighting everyday to hit .260, .270. One of you has got 25 home runs, the other guy's hitting .325, I don't need to hear this. I don't feel bad for either one of you.' That's how they were.
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