Bronx Homecoming for Former Ram
A lot can happen in 13 years, and that’s how long it’s been since a Ram has made it to the major leagues. On July 22, Nick Martinez will return to the Bronx where he played for the Fordham Rams for 3 years. He will step on the mound at Yankee Stadium as a Texas Ranger.
It will be familiar territory for Martinez who recalled watching many Yankee games in the bleachers during his time at Fordham. Now as a player, the chance to pitch in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium marks a special occasion.
“I spent three great years here at Fordham playing ball for the school and just you know all the memories I created with my buddies and my teammates – it’s just gonna be a special day [tonight],” Martinez said.
Martinez was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2011 in the 18th round of the amateur draft. After spending several years in the minor league system, the Florida native made his Major League debut this season against the Tampa Bay Rays in April. Since joining the Rangers, Martinez has recorded 29 strikeouts and a Major League win. A 3 week stint on the DL sidelined him for most of July. Now healthy, he’s looks for success as he returns to the field with his teammates against the Yankees.
While playing at Fordham, Nick made a lot of great memories, but there was one that stood out for him. He recalled one of his fondest memories as being Brian Kownacki's famous flip play back in 2010.
I think the first one that comes to mind is Brian Kownacki's flip over the catcher - great year that year and something amazing happened that year also," Martinez recalled.
The play received national acclaim and an ESPY nomination for “Play of the Year”. During his career at Fordham, Martinez was a pitcher/infielder. In his final year as a Ram, he posted a .292 batting average with a 2.75 ERA on the mound.
For Nick Martinez it will certainly be a special experience to step on the mound at Yankee Stadium. He described the chance to face Derek Jeter as nothing short of amazing.
“It’s gonna be awesome honestly,” Martinez said. “I was very fortunate that my first year was his last year so you know one of the guys you watch growing up – it’s gonna be pretty cool to face him.”
Martinez is the first Ram to make it to the majors in a long while – since 2001 – but he hopes that there will be many more Rams to follow in the near.
“I just think I won’t be the last I think a lot are gonna follow suit and I’m really looking forward to that,” Martinez said. “Hopefully we can get a lot of Fordham guys up here.”
(All photos courtesy of Fordham Athletics and the Texas Rangers)