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Friday, January 18, 2013

TINO MARTINEZ: ON & OFF THE FIELD

Constantino (Tino) Martinez is a big name in New York Yankees’ history. Mention his name to any fan, and the response is always favorable. His life on and off the field have made him a timeless fan favorite.
Born in Tampa, Florida in 1967, the future major-league baseball star Tino Martinez had a seemingly normal childhood. He graduated from Jefferson High School and later went to the University of Tampa for two years before leaving to pursue a career in baseball. His baseball career came under the spotlight in 1988, when Tino won a gold medal in the Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. Soon afterward, he was drafted to the Seattle Mariners.
Tino’s MLB career got off to a lackluster start until 1995 when he and his talents came out of their shell. He hit 31 home runs and batted .293. His season was so good that year that Tino caught the eye of the New York Yankees, who traded for Tino as a replacement 1st baseman for “Donnie Baseball”, Don Mattingly.

These were mighty big shoes to fill, and New York can be a tough place, especially when you’re replacing a New York Yankees icon like Mattingly. But Tino fit the bill, and with stellar seasons in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000, he won over the hearts of Yankees fans and was a reliable and powerful force on the team.

After 2001, Tino went on to play for the St. Louis Cardinals, then the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2004. Even though he was no longer wearing the famed Yankees pinstripes, Tino received very warm welcomes whenever he returned to Yankee Stadium to play. Yankees fans made sure that Tino always knew that he was welcome until he returned to the New York Yankees in 2005, where Tino would end his baseball career by retiring in 2006.
But Tino wouldn’t leave baseball just because he retired. In 2008, he became a special defensive skills instructor for the team. Later, he would become Special Assistant to the General Manager. By 2010, Tino was a broadcaster for the YES Network and later would work as a commentator for ESPN. In 2012, Tino was named the hitting coach for the Miami Marlins, and he holds that position today.Tino Martinez was a gentle giant in the world of baseball, a stand-up guy with sportsmanship like no other.

Off the field, Tino has had a productive and full life. He is married with three children and the family lives in the Tampa area. In 2011, Tino returned to college and received his bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies in 2011. He continues to participate in golf tournaments and charity events, and is a crowd pleaser at the Annual Old Timer’s Day at Yankee Stadium.
Tino is still a fan favorite and receives thunderous applause whenever he returns to Yankee Stadium.


--Christy Lee, BYB Features Writer




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