Victor Martinez is used to playing through injuries and putting himself at risk, something we were reminded of last night.
In Game 3 of the ALCS, Victor Martinez injured himself on a swing that resulted in a home run, bringing on a home run trot that made Kirk Gibson's famous trip around the bases from 1988 look speedy. While it looked like Martinez would be removed from the game, he stuck with it, and afterward said, "The only way I won't play tomorrow is if I wake up and I'm dead."
You could say Martinez has watched a few too many George Romero flicks if he thinks he's going to both wake up and be dead (or he just really loves Dave Mustaine), but his point remains: you can't stop this guy from being in the lineup, short of removing a limb from use. He has missed 151 games in a career that goes back to 2003. While that may sound like a lot, considering he is (1) a catcher and (2) has suffered 26 injuries in his career, it's not. Given 66 of those 151 games were lost to elbow surgery, that's impressive -- without that, it's more like three days lost per injury, despite having things like broken toes and a broken thumb that he caught through -- and produced with -- in 2010 while in Boston. In addition to the muscle injury he suffered last night in his side, he is dealing with yet another big toe struck by a foul ball, as well as a sore knee.
Catchers are a tough breed, and Martinez, now a DH, is no exception. We've done some digging to show you other moments in Martinez's life where he played through the pain or risked damage to himself in order to succeed.
That time Martinez touched Adrian Beltre's head despite the inherent dangers:
Adrian Beltre is a dangerous hitter, and a dangerous enemy. The man vaporized Jacoby Ellsbury's ribs in 2010 simply because he wanted to catch a fly ball, and when he didn't want the postseason to end for the Rangers early this year, he took it upon himself to murder three baseballs that the Rays threw in his direction.
That makes Victor Martinez's bravery in the face of danger and potential physical harm all the more worthy of song. This also means Martinez is that guy who will do literally anything if it might make someone laugh, because touching Beltre's head is akin to disturbing a bees nest, only the bees are mutants and are the size of Adrian Beltre.
Martinez is right in the thick of the fray, and sure, he has pads on, but that's just smart. The Indians were facing the Tigers at home, and when Fausto Carmona attempted to pick off Gary Sheffield at first base, some things were said, and Martinez ran to the rescue of his pitcher. Now, Sheffield was a great player, but you could argue that he's basically crazy. It's what made him so fun to watch, but to pick a fight with him is asking for it. And that's just what Martinez apparently tried to do:
"He [Sheffield] didn't say nothing going down to first base," said Martinez. "If he wants to do something, then charge right there. He just walked to first base with that attitude. Who is he? Shut your mouth and keep playing the game."
Sheffield isn't the only player who irked Martinez (or vice versa), as the Rays and their fans had a well-known aversion to him thanks to Martinez barking at Joe Maddon, which resulted in this little ditty:
That time Martinez told Brad Penny to stop being Brad Penny mid-game
In Martinez's defense, Brad Penny probably knows less about pitching than he does.
That time Martinez punched the bejesus out of a boulder in order to topple Albert Wesker and save the world:
Little known fact, but in March of 2009, Victor Martinez was sent on a mission to African as a member of the BSAA, and eventually stopped the new Umbrella corporation in its tracks, making the world safe... for now. He was even back in time for the start of the regular season in Cleveland!
I mean, besides the hair, that looks like Martinez, yeah? I think Capcom owes him a royalty check.