Martinez in 2014
Born: May 31, 1950|
La Junta, Colorado
|August 9, 1974, for the New York Yankees|
|Last MLB appearance|
|April 18, 1988, for the Minnesota Twins|
|Earned run average||3.45|
|Career highlights and awards|
Felix Anthony "Tippy" Martinez (born May 31, 1950 in La Junta, Colorado), is a retired professional baseball pitcher. Martinez, who threw left-handed, pitched fourteen seasons in Major League Baseball between 1974 and 1988, primarily as a relief pitcher. The majority of his career (1976–86) was spent as a member of the Baltimore Orioles, where he was a member of the Baltimore team that won the 1983 World Series.
Martinez was drafted by the Washington Senators in the 35th round of the 1969 amateur draft, but did not sign with the team. He began his MLB career with the New York Yankees in 1974 after signing as a free agent. On June 15, 1976, he was involved in a major trade, moving to Baltimore along with Rick Dempsey, Rudy May, Scott McGregor and Dave Pagan in exchange for Doyle Alexander, Jimmy Freeman, Elrod Hendricks, Ken Holtzman and Grant Jackson. Three of these players—Martinez, the catcher Dempsey, and the starting pitcher McGregor—were to have leading roles in the Orioles' World Championship of '83.
Martinez may be best known for picking off three Toronto Blue Jays at first base in one inning during an August 24, 1983 game at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. The Orioles, having replaced both their starting catcher and his backup while rallying to tie the game in the ninth inning, entered the tenth with reserve infielder Lenn Sakata in the game at catcher. Three consecutive Blue Jays hitters reached first base and each one, thinking it would be easy to steal a base on Sakata, took a big lead. Martinez picked off all three baserunners, then became the winning pitcher when the Orioles won the game on Sakata's home run in the bottom of the tenth.
A grass roots fan club was created for Tippy Martinez near the bull pen in left field of Memorial Stadium in 1980, called "Tippy's Tweeters" Fans blew on an Official Oriole Tweeter every time Tippy came into the game as the reliever and when he struck out the side.