06/15/2023 9:33 AM
Article By: Daniel Curren
During the winter of 2022, Hyannis Harbor Hawks head coach Eric Beattie was at an event in Tampa. While there, he ran into an old acquaintance, 16-year MLB veteran and fellow University of Tampa alum Tino Martinez.
Coming off his first year at the helm in Hyannis, Beattie informed Martinez of what he had been up to. A former Cape Leaguer, Martinez saw this as an opportunity to fulfill his desire to return to the Cape as a coach.
"For some reason, I had been thinking about it for a few years," Martinez said. "But I never did anything about it. I never committed to it."
Martinez told Beattie that he would be available to help out with the team if it were needed. This was an offer Beattie couldn't turn down.
"We're all here for the players," Beattie said. "Anytime you can bring in a player that has accomplished what all these players are trying to get to, it's an obvious great situation for them."
After his first year at the University of Tampa, Martinez played for the Falmouth Commodores in the summer of 1986. He had to quickly adjust to facing Division I pitching after facing Division II pitching in the spring.
Although the competition was tougher, it set Martinez up for an excellent sophomore season. He was eventually drafted in the first round of the 1988 MLB draft by the Seattle Mariners.
"It was a great experience," Martinez said. "It made me a better player, I met a lot of great people and I loved my entire summer."
Martinez went on to have a memorable career in the big leagues. In over 2,000 career games, he slugged 339 home runs, won four championships, made two all-star teams, and won a Home Run Derby in 1997, when he also finished runner-up in the American League MVP voting.
Martinez has several legendary moments to his name. He is most remembered for his game-tying home run in the ninth inning of game four of the 2001 World Series that propelled the New York Yankees to a big win. His home run in game three of the 1995 ALDS helped spark the Mariners' comeback, and eventually save baseball in Seattle.
37 years later, Martinez is back in the CCBL as an assistant hitting coach with the Harbor Hawks. After the experience the league gave him as a player, he is looking to pass his knowledge down.
"If I could make a difference in one or two kids' college careers, their approach, helping them become a better hitter, a better player, I would be satisfied with that," Martinez said. "But just to be here, to lend an ear and answer their questions about my career."
In his first week on the new job, Martinez has settled in and has begun forming relationships with the players and coaches.
"They find him very available and approachable," said coach Beattie. "Just teaching the guys through handling failure, handling adjustments, what adjustments they need to make, and when they need to make them."
With Cape League players looking to move on to the next level, Beattie hopes Martinez's knowledge can help the Harbor Hawks get an idea of what big league life is like.
"This Cape Cod schedule is the closest to professional baseball you can get in terms of playing six out of every seven days," Beattie said. "So how to handle that mentally and physically is probably the best thing he can give them."
Martinez will be with the Harbor Hawks for two weeks in June and three weeks in July.