A 16-year MLB career came to a close Saturday, as Victor Martinez walked off the field for the Detroit Tigers after one last hit. The way he got that hit, however, wasn’t exactly representative of his career.
In his first and final plate appearance on Saturday against the Kansas City Royals, the 39-year-old knocked a chopper that perfectly found the soft spot of the infield of a heavy shift. The Tigers had already planned for the game to be Martinez’s last.
In case those of you vaguely familiar with Martinez don’t quite think of him as the type of player to go out with an infield single, you’d be correct. In fact, over the last four years, when Martinez stopped playing catcher for good, he actually holds the second-lowest infield-hit rate in the majors, according to Fangraphs.
Almost exclusively a designated hitter during his tenure with the Tigers, Martinez had received a start at first base at his own request, according to Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire via MLB.com. Gardenhire, clearly waiting for Martinez to get a hit, pulled the veteran immediately following the hit, ending his career in the first inning.
Martinez received a standing ovation and nothing but love from his fellow players as he walked off the field.
Martinez began his career with eight seasons in Cleveland before he was traded midseason in 2009 to the Red Sox. Martinez would later sign as a free agent with Detroit in 2011, where he would spend the final seven seasons of a career that included five All-Star selections and two Silver Sluggers.
With Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, Martinez helped form a terrifying middle of the order during the team’s heyday earlier in the decade.
Fighting back tears, Victor Martinez said, "From the bottom of my heart, I can only say thank you. Thank you for being behind us all these years, supporting my teammates, supporting myself. Thank you very much."
— anthony fenech (@anthonyfenech) September 22, 2018
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