Most baseball fans fondly recall pitcher Dennis Martinez as a solid, if unspectacular starter long overshadowed by big-name aces in Baltimore (Jim Palmer, MIke Flanagan and Scott McGregor among them).
But even though Martinez was never considered a No. 1, any team would have been happy to have a pitcher who finished a 23-year career at age 44 with 245 wins, a respectable 3.70 ERA, 30 shutouts, four All-Star game appearances and a World Series ring in 1983 with the Orioles.
The 245 wins by the Nicaragua native for the Orioles, Expos, Indians, Braves and Mariners stood for 20 years as the most by a Latin American pitcher until Bartolo Colon retired in 2018 with 247 victories.
Martinez also hurled a perfect game on July 28, 1991 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, making him the first Latin American pitcher in MLB history to throw a perfecto.
Martinez began his pro career in 1976 with the Baltimore Orioles and quickly showed he belonged on the exemplary 1970’s staffs led by Palmer and Flanagan.
He was 14-7 in his second season, working as a starter and reliever, and throughout the late ‘70s and early 1980s Martinez continued to excel with the Orioles, helping lead Baltimore to the World Series in 1983.
In 1991, Martinez signed with the Montreal Expos, where he played for eight seasons. He recorded his perfect game with the team and made three straight All-Star appearances with the Expos.
After leaving Montreal, Martinez played for the Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners, and Atlanta Braves before retiring in 1998.
In addition to his success in the Major Leagues, Martinez also represented Nicaragua in international competition, including the World Baseball Classic and the Pan American Games. He was inducted into the Nicaraguan Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame in 2010.
1976: Makes MLB debut with the Baltimore Orioles
1977-1995: Records double-digit wins in 15 out of 19 seasons, including a career-high 16 wins four times.
1983: Helps lead the Orioles to a World Series win over the Philadelphia Phillies in five games.
1991: Signs with the Expos and throws a perfect game against the Dodgers, becoming the first Latin American pitcher to throw a perfect game.