Dennis Martinez had quite a baseball career. The first Nicaraguan to play in the bigs, Martinez held the record for most wins by a Latin American pitcher until Bartolo Colon broke it in 2018. He also is one of only nine pitchers to win at least 100 games in each league. Six — Cy Young, Nolan Ryan, Fergie Jenkins, Gaylord Perry, Jim Bunning, and Randy Johnson — are in the Hall of fame. The other other two — Kevin Brown, and Al Orth — are not.
Martinez is one of only 17 pitchers in MLB history to start on Opening Day more than 10 times, having done it 11 times. What’s more is that his 245 victories are the most for any pitcher without a 20-win season.
In the collection is this questionnaire filled out entirely by Dennis Martinez who has signed the top and the bottom of the sheet. Interestingly, when asked who his favorite player was growing up, Martinez responds, “Jim Palmer“, with whom the Nicaraguan would pitch with for nine years with the Orioles.
Martinez also identifies George Brett as the batter that gave him the most trouble. The Hall of Fame third baseman went 23-for-74 (.359) with 5 homers and 16 RBI off of him. Martinez also rates his first big league skipper as one of his favorites saying, “Earl Weaver, he got all out of me.”
The man who threw MLB’s 13th perfect game has the most career victories of any pitcher without a 20-win season. Milt Pappas, Jerry Reuss, Frank Tanana, Charlie Hough, Chuck Finley, Kenny Rogers, and Tim Wakefield are the only other pitchers with at least 200 career victories without reaching the 20-win plateau. Of these, Pappas, Reuss and Rogers pitched no-hitters, with Rogers’ being a perfect game, three years to the day of Martínez’s.
Martinez had many highlights over the course of his 23-year big league career. Interestingly he holds the distinction of throwing the last pitch that Hall of Fame outfielder Kirby Puckett ever saw, a wild pitch that broke Puckett’s jaw. In 2016, Martinez was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.