Victor Martinez will turn 40 this coming winter. During the 2017 season, he was sidelined due to an irregular heartbeat and ongoing health concerns. Now, with a new crop of young players coming up through the Tigers system, the designated hitter seems to be ready to say goodbye to the game of baseball.
In an interview with MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince, when asked about the idea of retirement, Martinez said, “Honestly? I’m ready, I’ve got no regrets. I know I left everything in this game.”
He was open in his reflection to Castrovince, recounting the heart scare that left him benched for a chunk of 2017. “Going through the process of it, there were points where I thought I might not be able to play.” Martinez’s own father, Guillermo, died of a heart attack at the age of 66, when Martinez was only 7. As Martinez told Castrovince, losing his father at such a young age, and having only sparing memories of him, is the reason it was so important to him to have his son Victor Jose — “Little Victor” as fans loving refer to him — along with him in the clubhouse as much as possible.
All four of his children are home schooled, which has given Martinez a rare opportunity to be close with them in spite of the rigorous demands of his baseball career. “I want to make sure I enjoy my kids. Because you just never know.”
Now, with 16 major league seasons under his belt, having spent time with the Cleveland Indians, the Boston Red Sox, and the final years of his career with the Tigers, Martinez seems ready to usher in the next phase of his life. A five-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger, Martinez has more than his fair share of brag-worthy accolades. And while his power at the plate may have diminished in recent seasons, he can at least say he held on, and went out on his terms, when he was ready.
As for what Martinez will do after he hangs up the cleats? “I think the biggest problem for athletes is they don’t know what to do after baseball. That won’t be my problem.” He and his wife own a 2500 acre cattle ranch in Florida, where Martinez plans to work when he’s done with baseball.
Although he hasn’t made any official announcements about this being his last season, he certainly doesn’t appear to think he has much left to prove. In fact, he seems to already have accepted that he is on the last page of this particular chapter of his life. “You know, it’s been a pretty beautiful ride.”