Leaguer of the Month
Horacio “Rabbit” Martinez
Born: 1915 in Santo Domingo, D.R.
Ht:5'7", Wt: 160
Batted right and threw right
Position: shortstop, third base, second base
Teams: New York Cubans, Cuban Stars, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico,
discussing the Negro Leagues' greatest shortstops, Rabbit Martinez
is rarely mentioned...but he should be!
From a purely defensive standpoint, Martinez may have been the
best Negro League shortstop of the 1940s, and was probably
the closest player the Negro Leagues produced who could challenge
the modern day's Ozzie Smith for making both the routine and seemingly
impossible play on a regular basis.
grew up in the Dominican Republic, and, like so many Major
League shortstops after him (Rafael Belliard, Mariano Duncan,
Tony Fernandez, Alfredo Griffin, Rafael Ramirez, Rafael Santana,
Andres Thomas) honed his skills on rock-riddled sandlots where
true hops were rare. By the time he
got to the Negro
Leagues, on its relatively fine infields (teams often
played in Major
or Minor League parks), Martinez, seemingly, could field
anything hit to him! In fact, he was often described
as “the perfect shortstop. Martinez played a deep shortstop,
had a strong enough arm to throw out runners from the hole,
and was an expert at charging and throwing on the run.
the only East-West All-Star ever from the Dominican Republic,
was voted into the classics in 1940, ’41, ’43, ’44
batting a whopping .545, . In 1940, Martinez led
in votes with over 60,000; the only other infielder with
votes were Buck Leonard (1b) and Sammy T. Hughes (2b).
In the ’45 classic, Martinez played half the game
(Frank Austin was named starter) and collected two hits,
off Booker McDaniels and Gene Bremer, with three RBIs.
Rabbit had the highest East-West batting average among players
selected for at least three games, and was the top hitting shortstop
by far, over batting champs Artie Wilson and Willie Wells.
again, is Rabbit not mentioned among the elite Negro League
site, and the webmaster, is powered by Xango!!!