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Today in Blue Jays history: Buck Martinez run over at the plate

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Buck Martinez #13

33 years ago today.

July 9, 1985, Blue Jays catcher, Buck Martinez was run over by Phil Bradley, a play that ended Buck’s season.

What happened on the play: Bradley was on second base and Gorman Thomas lined a single to right. Jesse Barfield made his usual terrific throw to the plate and Bradley was an easy out, so he crushed into Martinez. Martinez’s leg broke and while he was on the ground, in pain, Thomas went for third base (not exactly sporting, but the play was still on). Buck in pain, on the ground threw to third but missed and the ball went to left fielder George Bell.

Gorman went home, and Bell threw home. Amazingly enough Buck caught the ball, and Thomas, who wasn’t exactly fast, and didn’t want to run into Buck and add to his injury, was tagged out. I don’t know how Buck kept his mind in the game.

Buck was 36 at the time and he was hitting just .162/.239/.313 with 4 home runs. He was never great with the bat, but in his late-30s he was slowing some.

Martinez did come back for the 1986 season. He played in 81 games, hitting .181/.271/.269 with 2 home runs.

He went into broadcasting right after his career, working as the color commentator for the Jays games on TSN.

Then, in 2001, he became the Blue Jays manager. He led the Jays to a 80-82 record in 2001. 2002 didn’t start well, the Jays were 20-33 on June 2nd, and he was fired.

He went back to the booth, doing color for Orioles TV broadcasts, from 2003 to 2009. You know the rest, he came back to do play-by-play for the Jays starting in 2010.