Burgos: The legend and influence of Horacio Martínez

From SABR member Adrian Burgos Jr. at La Vida Baseball on February 20, 2018:

The Rabbit.

That’s the nickname he acquired for his ability to scamper across the diamond to field ground balls as well as for the hops he made to snare line drives. His smooth fielding and his speed running the basepaths made the Dominican shortstop a favorite of those who followed the Negro Leagues during the time Lou Boudreau, Phil Rizzuto, and Pee Wee Reese starred as shortstops in the major leagues. When all was said and done, he was voted into the all-star game five times in 11 seasons.

Under different circumstances, this Rabbit, not Maranville, but Martínez, would have been a household name, a name emblazoned on a well-loved baseball card, a name spoken with reverence. But most baseball fans in the United States are unfamiliar with the name Horacio “Rabbit” Martínez. He was among the numerous black and Latino ballplayers who never got a chance to play in the majors because of its color line. They came before Jackie Robinson and the integration of Major League Baseball, but they made their mark nonetheless and are worthy of remembrance.

The arc of Horacio Martínez’s life in U.S. professional baseball is a powerful reminder of how deeply Latinos were affected by the exclusionary color line that divided the game in the States. Martínez made his name playing for the New York Cubans in the Negro Leagues. Yet his impact extended well beyond his playing days. In fact, Martínez is a key figure in the transformation of the Americas’ game, as he helped to construct the Dominican talent pipeline that forever changed baseball.

Read the full article here: https://www.lavidabaseball.com/el-profe-horacio-martinez/

Originally published: February 20, 2018. Last Updated: February 20, 2018.