Tino Martinez

Student-Athlete
Inducted 2015

Tino Martinez is a popular figure in New York Yankees lore. But before he gained notoriety for being the first baseman for one of Major League Baseball’s most prominent teams, Martinez got his start playing baseball in Tampa.

Martinez started his high school career playing at Tampa Catholic for his freshman and sophomore seasons before transferring to Jefferson High School. At Jefferson, Martinez hit .400 his junior year and .553 his senior season. His performances earned him All-Conference honors both years, as well as being selected to the All-County and All-State teams. Martinez would also be honored as an All-American and the recipient of the Tony Saladino Award, an award given to the best player in Hillsborough County.

Upon graduation, Martinez was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the third round of the 1985 MLB Draft, but chose not to sign. Instead, he attended the University of Tampa. As the first baseman for the Spartans, Martinez was a three-time First Team All-Conference player, a three-time All-American and was named the Division II Player of the Year in 1988. Additionally, Martinez was also named an Academic All-American for his accomplishments in the classroom. Martinez was then drafted as the 14th overall pick by the Seattle Mariners in the first round of the 1988 MLB Draft.

After signing with the Mariners, Martinez went on to play in the 1988 Summer Olympics for Team USA. In the gold medal game, Martinez helped his team reach the top of the podium by blasting two home runs and driving in four runs as the Americans defeated Japan, 5-3.

Martinez enjoyed a productive pro career playing for the Mariners, Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In 1997 with the Yankees, Martinez had his best pro season, becoming an All-Star for the second time and finishing second in MVP voting. He was also a part of four World Series teams with the Yankees – in 1996, and then three straight years from 1998-2000.

Outside of baseball, Martinez has been a special instructor with the Yankees as well as a special assistant to the team’s general manager. To commemorate Martinez’s legacy, the New York Yankees honored him with a plaque in Monument Park on June 21, 2014.