Ya Gotta Believe 40th Anniversary Player Profile: Ted Martinez

By Rich Sparago

This week’s tribute to the 1973 Mets goes to utility man, Ted Martinez. Martinez truly exemplified the term “utility man”, as in his career, he played second base, shortstop, third base, and all 3 outfield positions. In the 1973 season, Martinez hit .255 in 263 official at-bats, with 1 home run and 14 RBI. In the 1973 post season, Martinez did not appear in any games of the NLCS. He did play in 2 games of the World Series against Oakland, and did not have an official plate appearance.

Jun 29, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; A major league baseball and glove sits in the bat rack in the Pittsburgh Pirates dugout before the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets signed Ted Martinez as an amateur free agent in 1966. He made his debut with the Mets in 1970, playing in 4 games and recording 16 at-bats. Martinez went on to play 5 seasons as a Met, posting a combined .235 average, with 5 home runs and 86 RBI. After the 1974 season, Martinez was traded to the Cardinals for Jack Heidemann and Mike Vail (the latter went on to hold the Mets’ record for consecutive games hitting streak for many years). Martinez was traded by St. Louis to Oakland in May of 1975. He was released by Oakland a year later, and ended up with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he spent 3 seasons. Over his 9-year career, Martinez hit .240, with 7 home runs and 108 RBI.

For younger readers, the closest analog to Ted Martinez on the 2013 Mets would be Eric Young Jr. Martinez had good speed, even though he had only 29 stolen bases in his career. He generally served as the lead off hitter when he was in the lineup, and would do anything he could to get on base. Like Young, Martinez played multiple positions, and provided manager Yogi Berra with versatility and flexibility on the roster. Martinez, now 65, is not generally seen around the Mets for celebrations and reunions. However, he played an important role on the 1973 pennant winners, and was a well-respected member of that team. Here’s a Rising Apple hat tip to the super-sub on the 1973 Mets, Ted Martinez.

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