Thursday, August 11, 2011
#310) JERRY MARTIN
Jerry Martin signed with the New York Mets as a free agent on March 17, 1984. The ten-year veteran was initially brought to training camp at his own expense and without any guarantee of a job. Martin had served 81 days in a Federal prison on misdemeanor cocaine charges that winter. "A lot of ball clubs have gone through this," said Mets general manager, Frank Cashen in reference to player's drug problems. "It's a fact of life. I'm no humanitarian. If he can play, when he can play, we'll offer him a one-year contract." The Mets signed Martin even though he was suspended by Major League Baseball. It was ruled by arbitrator, Richard Block that Jerry and his past Kansas City Royals teammate, Willie Wilson could return to action on May 15th. The first day their drug suspensions were due to be reviewed.
"This whole last year has been the toughest thing I have been through in my life." said Martin. He made his Mets debut at Jack Murphy Stadium on May 18, 1984. His long road back was finally complete when he appeared as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. Jerry flew out to rightfield during the 5-4 loss to the San Diego Padres.
Martin was always known as more of a defensive specialist during his career. Even so his performance at the plate for the Mets would suggest that the aftermath of the negative publicity had taken it's toll. Jerry finished with three home runs, five RBIs, and a career low .154 batting average in 51 games of the 1984 season. The Mets chose to release Martin on September 30th. It would be his final season playing in the major-leagues.
Jerry returned to baseball as a minor-league coach in the Philadelphia Phillies system in 1990. After 20 years in their organization, Martin joined the Detroit Tigers organization, and became the hitting coach for the Double-A Erie Seawolves in 2011.
Jerry Martin signed his card in the set for Chad (from Rochester) before the Akron Aeros and Erie Seawolves game at Jerry Uht Park on July 23, 2011.