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Tino Martinez is getting a plaque in Monument Park for some reason

May 8, 2014, 1:29 PM EDT

When I think monumental, I totally think Tino Martinez. Don’t you?

Torre is obvious. Bernie I get too. I mean, he’s no National Baseball Hall of Famer in my mind, but he has a non-ridiculous argument and he is certainly well-qualified for a team-specific Hall of Fame. He was really the face of the Yankees’ return to dominance back in the 90s, even if Jeter later came to define that dynasty. I’ll even make allowances for Paul O’Neill. I think that stretches things a bit, but fans loved that constantly-annoyed man an awful lot, so good for him and them.

Tino, though, I really don’t get. He was never the best player on any of those teams — his best year was the non-World Series year of 1997, but even then Bernie was better — and he was cast over the side when Jason Giambi became available. Our own Matthew Pouliot notes that Martinez is 52nd all-time among Yankees position players in Baseball-Reference’s version of WAR. To make up for that you gotta be a pretty big fan favorite, I think. And unless I’ve missed something, Martinez doesn’t tend to pump up Yankees fans. Indeed, the most love I recall him receiving was retro-love once Giambi sorta went bust in New York and some people wished Tino was back.

Monument Park is the Yankees’ own Hall of Fame and they can put anyone they want in it. But if you’re gonna put Tino Martinez in it, forgive the rest of us if we don’t speak about it in the hushed tones Yankees people do. It was one thing when it was Mantle, DiMaggio and all of those other guys, but Tino Martinez makes it a somewhat less-than-elite club, does it not?

  1. trbmb - May 8, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    It is now Monument Garage, it looks like where they might park tractors when not needed, and they could put a plaque for Horace Clarke there and no one would know.

  2. sh0rtcake43 - May 8, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    Tino is loved by all true Yankee fans!!!!….Even when he came back with another team we still loved him..Thats why he’s getting a plaque…You’re all idiots if you don’t remember him!!!

    • chc4 - May 8, 2014 at 5:09 PM

      We all remember him. He still doesn’t deserve a plaque. Those should be received for, let’s see, great players. Tino was not that.

      I nominate Shane Spencer for the next round of recipients.

  3. djpostl - May 8, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    As a Braves fan Craig has zero idea what it’s like to have someone so beloved because he was a key cog in a run that featured 5 WS trips in 6 seasons while winning it all 4 times.

  4. penale52 - May 8, 2014 at 5:01 PM

    I still think its crazy that several Hall of Famers (Tony Lazzeri, Waite Hoyt, Herb Pennock, Earle Combs, Joe Gordon) don’t and probably never will have plaques but guys like Allie Reynolds and Tino have.

    I am fine with Reynolds and Martinez being represented, but not over Hall of Famers, even if they are mariginal HOFers.

  5. smoothaswilkes - May 8, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    I’m outraged! I sincerely hope this bum’s plaque is nowhere near my own plaque, which the Yankees bestowed upon me for attending one game in the summer of 1992.

  6. lukedunphysscienceproject - May 8, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    As a lifelong Yankee fan, one of my least favorite things about the franchise is the ease with which they retire numbers and build monuments.

    In my mind, you only retire the number of, and build a monument to, a player who spent the majority of, if not all of, his career with your franchise. I love Tino, and I get that he was a key contributor on a number of World Series champs, but for God’s sake, he didn’t even spend half his career with the Yankees.

    Before anyone jumps in, I know they are not retiring his number, but the fact is that the Yankees have retired tons of numbers, and are you willing to bet your life there isn’t a number or two on that list that is equally questionable?

  7. bigjimatch - May 8, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    Next year’s class: Luis Sojo, Jim Leyritz and Raul Mondesi

    • campcouch - May 9, 2014 at 2:56 AM

      Man,I’d forgotten about Raul Mondesi…

  8. 18thstreet - May 8, 2014 at 7:37 PM

    It’s Monument Park, not Monument of Very Good!

    Okay, that joke needs work. But it’s the best I can do.

  9. mgv38 - May 8, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    Bam Bam!

  10. jimbanks02 - May 9, 2014 at 6:06 AM

    Why not Kubek, Richardson, Pepitone, Cerone, Jerry Kenney, Rich McKinney, Peterson, Keckich….Why not just anyone who ever played for the team?

  11. smokersodysseycom - May 9, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    They really ought to have a one for the “Fab Five!” because if Berns hadn’t been around there most certainly wouldn’t be any rings. smokersodysseycom

  12. zuprczar - May 9, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Tino is a bit of a stretch. If he was a homegrown player, maybe. But he was a Yankee only a few years and while an important piece during his time with the Yankees it was hardly historic. I was a big fan of Tino but this seems to degrade the rest of the honorees.

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