The legendary Mike Martin saw his 40-year head coaching career at Florida State end fittingly at the 2019 College World Series. It took just a matter of days for the Seminoles to name Martin’s son as his rightful heir to the Florida State baseball throne.
Mike Martin Jr. has plenty of experience in Tallahassee, serving as his dad’s right-hand man for the past 22 years. Here’s what you should know about Mike Martin Jr., the man who has to replace the college baseball icon known simply as ‘11’.
PRESEASON TOP 25: Where does FSU rank in our early 2020 college baseball rankings?
1. The All-American: After spending a season in community college, Martin Jr. began his Florida State career primarily as the Seminoles backstop, even earning All-American honors as a catcher in 1994. He was known for his defensive prowess and big arm, throwing out 50% of base runners, but was also good with the bat, finishing his career hitting .270 with 20 home runs, 44 doubles, a .399 on-base percentage, and 34 stolen bases.
2. The jack of all trades: On April 23, 1994, Martin Jr. played all nine positions against Furman. And he was pretty good. Martin Jr. finished the day 2-for-3 with two runs scored while pitching a scoreless inning and striking out one.
3. The man they call Meat: Meet Meat. That’s the nickname Martin Jr. has gone by since he was four years old. In his press conference introducing Martin Jr. as the next head coach, he explained the name came from being skinny and needing more meat on his bones. It then became a taunt from Martin Sr. while playing in the backyard. It was all he ever knew that he wrote it on his middle and high school assignments.
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 19, 2017
4. The MLB draft regular: Martin Jr. was drafted quite a few times in his early days. The Seattle Mariners took Martin Jr. out of high school in the 34th round of the 1991 MLB draft and then again after his first year in junior college. After Martin Jr. decided to go to FSU, the Mariners came calling again, this time after his junior year at Florida State, taking him in the 17th round of the 1994 MLB draft. Finally, after deciding to return for his senior season, the San Diego Padres selected Martin Jr. in the ninth round of the 1995 MLB draft.
5. The minor leaguer: Like father, like son. Martin Jr. played just three seasons in professional baseball, just like his dad. He never found the same contact success he had in college, hitting .189, .175, and .236. His final season as a pro he signed with the Mariners, who finally got their man before Martin Jr. hung it up for good.
6. The assistant coach: In 1998, Martin Jr. teamed up with his father and began his assistant coaching career. His primary responsibilities were hitting and recruiting while helping with some memorable catching prospects. How good was Martin Jr. as a hitting coach? The Seminoles have a .300 batting average since that 1998 season.
7. The College World Series regular: As a catcher, Martin Jr. visited Omaha twice in 1994 and 1995. As an assistant, Florida State made eight more trips to the CWS, while making 17 Super Regionals and winning six ACC titles.
8. The visionary: Florida State brought in a big-armed pitching freshman who had the hit tool and athleticism to play the field as well, earning Freshman All-American honors as a shortstop in 2006. Martin Jr. had a crazy idea to move him to catcher the following season. Martin Sr. wasn’t on board, but his son, the former All-American catcher, said he would help him adjust. That catcher? The 2008 Golden Spikes Award-winning, three-time MLB World Series champion, and 2012 MLB Most Valuable Player Buster Posey.
9. The recruiting mastermind: One of Martin Jr.’s key responsibilities has been hitting the recruiting trail as the FSU recruiting coordinator. His signees have done well for the Seminoles as each of his last eight recruiting classes have been ranked in the top 10 by at least one major college baseball publication. Three of the starters in Omaha were freshmen, leaving Martin Jr. plenty to work with in his debut season.
10. The head coach: On June 21, Florida State made it official and named the Martin Jr. the ninth head coach in program history and the first new hire in the 40 years since Dick Howser handed the reins to Mike Martin Sr. to start his historic run.
11. The winner?: We all know that despite the 2,000+ victories, despite all those trips to Omaha, Mike Martin Sr. retired missing just one thing: a national championship. Martin Jr. said “everything is going to be geared toward [the national championship],” so all eyes will be on Tallahassee to see if the new Martin era can fill the trophy case at Florida State.
(Mike Martin Jr. college stats and game log found at nolefan.org)