Tuesday, November 4, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #155 AL MARTIN

OH THE STORIES HE COULD TELL.


IN HIS FIRST FULL SEASON IN '93, HIT 18 HOMERS.


DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • It took Al Martin eight years to reach the majors after being selected by the Braves in the eighth round of the 1985 draft. When he reached The Show in '92 with the Pirates, he averaged double-digit homers and steals in eight of his 11 years in the bigs. Known as one of the good guys, he was later involved in an incident of deception and violence that marred a career in which he averaged 17 homers and 23 steals as a top-of-the-order presence.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • On March 20, 2000, Martin was arrested in Phoenix and charged with two counts of domestic violence against his wife, telling her at one point, "I will O.J. your ass so quick. ...'' Then it was later discovered she was Martin's "other'' wife, making him a bigamist. He said the ceremony to his mistress, which occurred in '98, wasn't a legitimate wedding. He later pleaded guilty to one count of domestic violence and sentenced to one day in jail and two years' probation. Martin's arrest surprised many in the game, much in the same way O.J. Simpson's did in '94. Watch yourself around those "good guys.''

DEFINING SEASON

  • Martin slugged a career-high 24 homers and slashed .277/.337/.506 in his final season in Pittsburgh in '99. He added 20 steals, the fifth consecutive year he stole at least that many.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Martin's second twisting of the facts occurred in '01, when he claimed he played football for USC. He cited a play that allegedly took place in '86 against Michigan, but he had been in the minors full time since '85. Moreover, there was no record of an Al Martin ever attending USC.
  2. Martin is the nephew of former Raider linebacker Rod Martin, who did play at USC.
  3. The Pirates traded Al in February 2000 to the Padres for John Vander Wal and two minor-leaguers. Then all hell broke loose the next month with the domestic violence/bigamy case.
  4. Traded to the Mariners at the deadline in '00 after hitting 11 homers, but never reached double-figures again and was out of the league after '03.
  5. Nearly quit after languishing in the minors before a talk with Hank Aaron and Willie Stargell in '91 changed his mind.

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