Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Martinez Leaving the Indians After 20 Years


That's the mood around today's announcement from Indians Manager Harv Martinez that he's leaving the ball club after 20 successful seasons with the organization.

You can read the media release yourself:

(Swift Current, SK) Harv Martinez, the most successful head coach in the history of the Western Major Baseball League (WMBL), is leaving the Swift Current Indians Baseball Club effective immediately. Martinez, who was joined by a number of players and executive of the SC Indians, made the announcement today at the Boston Pizza lounge in Swift Current.

"I've been coaching here for 20 years and I feel that it is time for a change," said Martinez, who indicated that he has no immediate plans for the future. “ I believe that my decision today will initiate new changes within the Swift Current Indians Baseball Program and the beginning of a new era for the Tribe”.

In his twentieth and final season with the Tribe, Harv lead his team to a Central Division leading 25-11 regular season record. In the playoffs, Martinez and his team went on to defeat Regina and Melville to win the Eastern Conference for a third straight time while earning a birth in the championship series for the fifth consecutive season. It was in this year’s final that the stellar career came to an end just short of a WMBL “three peat” as they were defeated three games to one by the Okotoks Dawgs.

In Martinez’s 20-year reign as Head Coach of the SC Indians, the graduate of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo CA., had a record of 487-250 and appeared in five straight WMBL Championship series winning in 2004 and 2005. That record of 487 wins makes him the most successful coach in WMBL history. Over the course of his career, Martinez has led the Indians to a total of nine league and four conference championships.

“I have really enjoyed these last twenty years and not just as a baseball coach but as a person who has had an opportunity to help these young players become better people and to grow and become contributing members of the community. We have had a lot of great young men, local, Canadian import and American import guys that have come through this program. Hopefully that tradition can continue after I’m gone”.

Martinez joined the Indians in 1987 as a summer employment opportunity following a year of teaching and helping out as an assistant coach at Modesto Junior College. He is currently the Principal at Waldeck School. Martinez and his wife Denise live in Swift Current year round.

A search for Martinez’s replacement will commence after the Board of Directors meets September 19th to discuss the direction of the Swift Current Indians Baseball Club.

Here's some of Harv's answers this afternoon... first on this surprising announcement:

"The timing is right. After an extended career you start to look back and reflect on the job that you do each year and reflect on all the components of being the Head Coach of a team of this magnitude. You just start to look back on those things and there comes a time. It's time for the organization to go in another direction. There is no ill feelings, any kind of situation that has occured, it's just the right time"

More on the timing of the announcement and his feelings regarding his resignation....

"It's the best decision for me at this time. As much as I'm sad at ending a 20 year relationship today, for the meantime and that's not to say that something in the future might not develop. It will be a change, not only for the organization but for myself."

On what he plans to do next summer....

"I don't know what I'm going to do with my time now I haven't quite figured that out. I will find my way to a fishing boat that might take up a little but of my time or maybe a golf club I haven't swung in a lot of years. I'm not looking to far into the future, I've just been pondering how I was going to deal with today."

After a 20 minute media Q and A with Martinez I left feeling very unsatisfied and that my questions weren't answered. Why now? What's the story behind this? Why isn't the President of the Board at today's meeting?

I got on the phone shortly after the meeting and found out the Indians four person Board of Directors are equally surprised and shocked after Martinez handed in his resignation last night at a meeting.

They didn't see it coming and they aren't aware of any situation that led to this announcement.

Upon further investigation, it just seems Martinez feels his time with the Indians has run it's course and he wants to leave now on good terms and with the ball club in a good situation.

I get the sense he feels like he's been at it long enough and wants to leave in a positive light in the community and I can respect that.

You have to respect the fact as well that he's an elementary school principal for 10 months of the year and then dedicates his entire summer to the Indians organization and has done this for 20 years. No fishing trips, Saturday golf tournaments, nothing. His vacation time is used running the Indians ball club and running it well.

So, with that said. It is what is... and the Indians organization will move on and try and find a replacement. Harv didn't rule out a return down the road and I think he will be back after a few seasons of being on the sidelines.

For now, his accomplishments speak for himself. He will always be Mr. Baseball in Swift Current.

1 comment:

Martens said...

Your last line...about Mr. Baseball? 110% correct. Harv will be missed.