clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

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

New, 7 comments
MAD03 - 02/17/2001 -Jays03 - DUNEDIN, FLORIDA --- Manager Buck Martinez keeps an eye as John Frascat Photo by Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images

36 years ago today.

July 9, 1985, Mariner outfielder Phil Bradley ran over catcher Blue Jays catcher Buck Martinez, 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 crashed into Martinez. Unfortunately, Martinez’s leg broke, and while he was on the ground, in pain, Thomas went for third base (not precisely sporting, but the play was still on, maybe the umpire could have called the play dead to let trainers get out to help?). 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.

Bradley had been one of my favorite players. He was an excellent leadoff type, got on base great, stole bases, and had mid-range power. He didn't age great. He was out of baseball at 32.

Thomas was a low average, big power guy. By 1985 his career was winding down, he was 35, but he still had 32 home runs that year.

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.

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 an 80-82 record in 2001. However, the 2002 season didn’t start well, the Jays were 20-33 on June 2, and J. P. Ricciardi had seen enough.

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