Getting to know Chicago Cubs’ bench coach Dave Martinez
Former Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez returned to the Chicago Cubs on Dec. 4, reuniting him with the club that drafted the former outfielder in 1983.
Martinez, 50, started his professional career with the Geneva Cubs before moving onto the Quad Cities affiliate. After making his big league debut with the organization on June 15, 1986, Martinez hit a then career best eight home runs, 36 RBIs, 18 doubles and 134 hits with a clip of .292/.372/.418 in his first full season.
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He would then play only 75 games with the Cubs in 1988 before moving onto the Montreal Expos in exchange for Mitch Webster. Martinez quietly established himself as one of the best defensive outfielders as a member of the Expos, Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants, and the Chicago White Sox while suffering a handful of injuries throughout his career.
After bouncing from team to team and suffering a torn hamstring on top of a couple knee injuries, Martinez found himself with the Cubs once again during the 2000 campaign. It was a three-team trade that landed Chicago both Martinez and Brant Brown – who came over from the Florida Marlins.
The veteran outfielder only played 18 games that season, only driving in one run on a crutch batting line of .185/.214/.241. He would later end his career with the Atlanta Braves just a year later while falling just one short of 1,600 career hits between 10 teams.
Martinez arrived with the Tampa Bay Rays around the same time Joe Maddon did, but he wasn’t hired as a bench coach right off the bat. For about two years, the former outfielder in his mid-40’s was working as with the team during Spring Training as an instructor before being hired in Oct. 2007.
Multiple teams, including the Cleveland Indians, Washington Nationals and even the Cubs interviewed Martinez for vacant manager positions over the last several years, but all passed on him. It appeared that he would be considered the favorite once Maddon left to Chicago, as multiple veterans in Tampa Bay backed him up for the job.
Not only did he start his professional baseball career with the Cubs, but he met his wife Lisa in Chicago as well. It appears that this city has brought him some good luck over the course of his life, not only his playing career but personal as well.