This is Jose Martinez’ rookie card. Having not collected baseball cards in 1970, I first became aware of Martinez while he was a first-base coach. If I recall correctly, it was for the Kansas City Royals, in the 1980 World Series against the Phillies.
It’s not surprising that he slipped through the cracks back then, because he only had a 2-year career (1969-70). Martinez was signed by the Pirates in 1960, and worked his way up the ladder, playing in triple-A in ’65 and ’66. After missing the 1967 season, he found himself back in double-A in 1968.
Jose made his major-league debut in April 1969. That season, he played in 42 games as a utility infielder, and started 35 games at 2nd base (mostly during June and July).
Martinez began the 1970 season with the Bucs, but after only 19 appearances (mostly pinch-hitting or pinch-running), he was sent down in late-May, never to return to the show. He remained with the Pirates’ AAA team through the end of the 1971 season.
Jose was sold to the Royals in March 1972, and played 3 seasons with their AAA club in Omaha, Nebraska, then was released in April 1975. He also pitched 4 innings in 1974.
After his playing career, Martinez worked for the Royals as a minor-league manager and major-league coach from 1980-88, then coached with the Cubs from
In 1995 he began working in the Braves’ front office as a special assistant to the GM, where he remained until his death in 2014.
RIP - Joe Pepitone
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