Teddy Martinez: 1973 N.L. Champion Mets Utility Player (1971-1974)

Teodoro Noel Martinez was born on December 10, 1947, in Barahona, Dominican Republic. The slim six-foot infielder was signed as an amateur free agent by the New York Mets in 1966 at the age of 19. 

At A ball in 1968, he hit over .300 and played a solid defensive infield. 

By 1970 he was hitting .306 with 13 stolen bases at AAA Tidewater and posting a .966 fielding %.

Mets Debut: Martinez made his MLB debut on July 18th, 1970, playing second base & batting 8th in a 4-3 win over Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium. He stayed up for a brief four games that week, getting one hit in 16 at bats. 

In 1971 he hit .297 at AAA Tidewater, as the clubs main second baseman. That July he got another call up filling in mostly at shortstop that month. Martinez hit safely in his first four games, with another four-game streak at the end of the month.

That month he had two multi-RBI games. On September 17th, Teddy hit his first career HR, coming off the Pirates Nelson Briles in Gary Gentry's three hit 3-0 shutout. 

Teddy managed to get into over 90 games in each of the next three seasons as a utility middle infielder, also playing some outfield. In 38 games he hit .288 with 10 RBIs six stolen bases & 16 runs scored.

1972: Teddy made the Mets Opening Day roster & would see action in 102 games as a utility infielder. 

Walk Off Hit: On May 10th, Teddy got a start at second base, collecting two hits. In the bottom of the 14th inning, with the score tied 3-3 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Martinez's single off Pete Mikkelsen, drove home the game winning run keeping them in first place at that time. 

On May 18th, Martinez 1st inning triple off the Expos Mike Torrez, scored Willie Mays. An error on catcher John Boccabella's throw had Martinez scamper home. The Mets would win the game 2-1 behind Jim McAndrew & Tug McGraw's one run four hitter.

On June 28th, he tied up a game in Philadelphia with a 4th inning base hit off Gary Neibauer. The Mets won the game for Tom Seaver 3-2.

In late September he had one of his biggest offensive days of the year, gathering up three hits with two RBIs in a 7-2 win over the Chicago Cubs at Shea Stadium. 

On October 1st he ended his season by hitting a surprise three run HR off the Pirates Bob Miller in a 7-3 Mets win at Three River Stadium. It was his only HR of the year.

The speedy Martinez led the Mets in triples (5) & was third in stolen bases (7). Martinez batted .228 hitting a HR five doubles and driving in 19 runs. Martinez posted a .994 fielding percentage at second base in 47 games, making one error turning nine double plays. 

Teddy played 42 games at short posting a .983 %, turning nine double plays making just three errors in 175 chances. The versatile Martinez even played 15 games in the outfield as well.

1973 Mets Pennant Season: In 1973 the Mets used Teddy at short stop (44 games) outfield (21 games) third base (14 games) & just two games at second base. 

He filled in at short stop when Bud Harrelson went down with an injury missing some time. Teddy would play in 44 games at short posting .941 fielding % making 11 errors in 187 chances, while turning 12 double plays. 

Although he did not start the game, Martinez was in the middle of all the excitement in the second game of the season. In the 9th inning of a 2-2 tie with the Phillies, Teddy came in to run for Ed Kranepool. Kranepool had singled off former Met Dick Selma. Martinez advanced on a fielder's choice, then scored the game winning run-on Willie Mays' walk off base hit.

On April 24th, he got three hits with an RBI in 4-2 loss to the Astros in Houston. 

On June 27th in the first game of a double header at Shea Stadium with the Phillies, he doubled driving in a run in the Mets seven run third inning of the 7-6 win. 

In the night cap his RBI sac fly was the only run the Mets scored in the 7-1 loss.

He saw a lot of action in August hitting safely in 13 of 22 games. 

As all the Mets regulars got healthy in the final month, Martinez only saw action in seven games of the Mets stretch where they won 18 of 24 games to win the NL East. He was a pinch runner in four games & started in three others.

On September 3rd he had one of his biggest game of the year & his career. With the Mets still 5.2 games out of first place in a pennant tight race, Martinez led the team to victory with a four-hit day. He drove in four runs of Jerry Koosman's 5-0 shutout over Steve Carlton & the Phillies at Shea Stadium. 

In that game Martinez hit his only HR of the season, a solo shot off Carlton in the 4th inning. Martinez came to bat twice with the bases loaded. In the 2nd inning he blooped a single to right field scoring Rusty Staub. In the 5th inning he doubled off Carlton bringing in two runs putting the Mets up 5-0.

On September 18th, the Mets were 2.5 games behind the Pirates. In a big matchup in Pittsburgh, the Mets were down 4-1 as they came back with a big five run inning. Felix Millan tripled in two runs & Ron Hodges tied it with an RBI single. Martinez came in to run for Hodges & scored what turned out to be the winning run-on Don Hahn's two run single.

On September 20th at Shea Stadium, in the game known as "the ball on the wall game" Martinez came in as a pinch runner after pinch hitter Jim Beauchamp singled. With the Mets down by a run, Wayne Garrett sacrificed Martinez over to second. He then scored the tying run on Felix Millan's base hit.

In the 9th inning, the Pirates went ahead but the Mets tied it up on Duffy Dyer's RBI double.

In the 13th inning the Pirates Dave Augustine hit a ball that hit the top of the wall, came back into Cleon Jones, who threw to Wayne Garrett who threw home to catcher Ron Hodges & nailed Richie Zisk trying to score. Hodges won it with a walk off RBI single in the bottom of the 13th putting New York a half game behind the Pirates. They would win the division on the last day of the season.

Martinez played in 92 games overall, batting .255 with 67 hits, 11 doubles, a HR 14 RBIs & five stolen bases. 

1973 World Series: He did not see any action in the NLCS. In the seven game World Series loss to the Oakland A's, Martinez made two appearances as a pinch runner.

After the Pennant: In 1974 the Mets could not defend their NL title, falling to fourth place. Martinez appeared in a career high 116 games, 75 of them at shortstop for an injured Bud Harrelson. He posted a .952 fielding % making 17 errors with a career high 32 double plays turned. 

He also played at second (11 games) third (12 games) & in the outfield (10 games) also filling in as a pinch hitter. 

In May, Teddy had three multi-RBI games in a four-game span. On May 16th, he hit a two run double off the Cards Mike Thompson in the Mets a 6-3 win. In the next game he hit a two run double off the Expos John Montague in a 5-0 Tom Seaver shut out.

Four RBI Game: On July 7th, he led the offense in Tom Seaver's three hit shutout in San Francisco. In the 1st inning, Martinez came to bat with the bases loaded & cleared the bases with a triple off Charlie Williams into left centerfield. 

On July 28th, he had a three RBI Day, including a bases loaded single in the bottom of the 8th inning bringing in two runs in the Mets 4-1 win over the Montreal Expos. 

On August 26th, with the Mets down 4-2 to the Astros in the bottom of the 9th inning, Martinez hit a pinch-hit RBI double off Mike Cosgrove. He then scored the tying run on Felix Millan's single. The Mets won it on Rusty Staub's single scoring Millian.

Once again he led the team in triples with seven, batting .219 with a career high two HRs, 15 doubles 14 walks 43 RBIs & two stolen bases in five tries.

That winter the Mets traded him to the St. Louis Cards in order to get two players, outfielder Mike Vail & infielder Jack Heidemann. 

Mets Career: Martinez has played 184 games at short for the Mets (15th most in Mets history) He played 353 Mets games (84th all time).

In five years with the Mets, he hit .235 with 251 hits 5 HRs 36 doubles 14 triples 104 runs scored & 86 RBIs with 19 stolen bases.

Post Mets Career: In 1975 he played just 16 games with St. Louis batting .190 when he was traded to the Oakland A's for a player to be named later. 

Martinez played 45 games behind Bert Campaneris  at short, 31 games behind Phil Garner at second base & 14 behind Sal Bando at third for the AL Western Champions batting .172.

1975 Post Season- ALCS: Martinez made three appearances in the 1975 ALCS, Oakland A's loss to the Boston Red Sox. This ended the A's three-year Dynasty reign as World Champions. 

In the dawn of free agency owner Charlie Finley would sell off most of his star players or lose them to free agency. Martinez, spent 1976 in the minors then signed as a free agent with the Reds then got picked up by the Los Angeles Dodgers, in the rule 5 draft. 

NL Champions: In Los Angeles Teddy was part of two straight NL pennant winning Dodger teams. There he was reunited with his former Mets teammate, Jerry Grote who was a backup catcher.

Double Play Record Set: On August 21st, 1977, he tied a NL second baseman record, by turning five double plays in a single game. He made an appearance as a pinch runner in the World Series.

Teddy hit a career high .299 in 67 games that season, with a HR & 10 RBIs, while stealing three bases. In 1978 he appeared in 54 games for L.A batting .255. hitting another HR with 5 RBIs, stealing three more bases.  He did not appear in any post season games.

Martinez would play one more year in Los Angeles, finishing up his nine-season career in 1979.

Career Stats:
Overall Martinez played in 657 games, batting .240, with 355 Hits, 50 Doubles, 16 triples, 7 HRs, 108 RBI, 29 Stolen Bases, scoring 165 runs and a .270 on base %.

At short stop he posted a .956 fielding % in 282 games turning 102 double plays, making 46 errors in 1038 chances. At second he posted a .994% in 168 games. He also played 97 games at third & 54 in the outfield.

Retirement: After his playing days he was a long-time hitting coach for the Sinon Bulls, in the L.A. Dodgers organization.


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