BRONX, N.Y. — On this date in 1995, the New York Yankees traded for first baseman Tino Martinez. The deal brought Martinez, 28, and relief pitchers Jeff Nelson and Jim Mecir to the Bronx. In exchange, the Yankees sent third baseman Russ Davis and starting pitcher Sterling Hitchcock to the Seattle Mariners.
At initial glance, this trade crushed me as a kid when I saw it flash across the local 6 p.m. sportscast. Martinez just crushed the Yankees in the ALDS. Plus, growing up watching the AA Albany-Colonie Yankees, I was a big fan of Davis, who earned the 1992 Eastern League MVP. It also meant the official end of Don Mattingly’s playing days in pinstripes. Quite the whirlwind of emotions.
It was also a pretty wild birthday for Tino, whose daughter Victoria was also born that day.
Yet, I’d say it worked out pretty well for the Bronx Bombers. Martinez signed a five-year, $20.25 million deal and provided a bonafide punch at first base.
Between two tours and seven years in the Bronx, Martinez swatted 192 home runs and provided a multitude of postseason moments, helping the Yankees win four World Series titles. The 1998 World Series grand slam. Hitting .364 in the 2000 World Series. His epic home run in the 2001 Fall Classic.
I saw equally sad to see him go after 2001 but thrilled when he came back for his final season in 2005, as he retired in pinstripes.