Inside Pitch 2003 – Jose Martinez

Livingston’s Martinez throws 1st Roy Hobbs perfect game

Jose MartinezJose Martinez pitched the first perfect game in Roy Hobbs World Series history Monday night.

Jose struck out 8 and faced the minimum 21 hitters as his Livingston Dodgers defeated the Pensacola Salty Dogs 13-0 at City of Palms Stadium.

“Yeah, I knew I was doing it,” Jose said. “Everybody was staying away from me in the dugout, they wouldn’t let me keep score, and I knew I had good stuff.

“After the first inning, Doc (Pollak) came up to me in the dugout and told me he thought I could get a no-hitter, and I laughed,” he said. Jose opened the game, striking out 5 of the first 6 batters

Jose, 59-years-old, has never thrown a no-hitter, much less a perfect game. But then, when no less an authority as Doc Pollak says he’s “on”, “who am I to question him?” Jose said. (Pollak, one of the 15-year fixtures of the Roy Hobbs tournament says he needs 8 pitching wins to reach 1,000 for his lifetime.) “In the fourth inning, I felt really good, and I knew my curve and slider were really working good.”

Going to the top of the 7th with a 13-run lead, Jose said he was nervous. “I didn’t want to think about it, you know. I was anxious to pitch.”

He struck out the first batter, got a popup to first baseman Carlos Aquino and recorded the perfect game on a line drive down the line but caught by third baseman Fernando Gonzales.

Manager Tom Makosky said that, looking back, there were 2 crucial moments.

In the fifth, there was a come- backer to Jose, but it caromed off his glove to second baseman Miguel Ortiz who threw out the runner.

In the sixth, there was a third strike in the dirt, which catcher Jared Nesi fired to first to get the out, but Aquino didn’t know it was a dropped third strike and did not touch first before throwing across to shortstop Junior Carmona.

Carmona alertly fired back to Aquino to beat the runner going to first. Score than one a “K”, 2 to 3 to 6 to 2!

There are no official Roy Hobbs records for events such as this, Roy Hobbs President Tom Giffen said. There have been no-hitters, but “to my knowledge, no one has ever thrown a perfect game in the World Series.

“Yes, it was just 7 innings, but it counts as Jose did what he had to do, got the 21 batters he was faced with to get a complete game,” Giffen said. “Jose has set the standard.”

The Dodgers stuck to tradition in their dugout, and everyone stayed

away from Jose between innings, and, when Jose pitches, he will keep score his teammates are hitting. Not this time. “They wouldn’t give me the book,” he said. Jose, 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, is a sergeant in the Maplewood, N.J., police department, where he has worked for 30 years.

His baseball career has been scattered over the landscape, playing a youngster, picking the game up briefly in his 30s and then 15 years ago joining Doc Pollak in 30+ baseball in New Jersey.

This is Jose’s 14th year at the Roy Hobbs World Series, and it has been a good week, for sure.

Jose pitched the last 2 innings in relief against Miami Benihana Sunday, getting the win when his Dodger mates scored 2 runs in the 9th for a 19-17 victory.

And, so what is Jose planning for an encore?

He laughed … “Nothing will top this,” he said … “but we’ve been taking it one day at a time until now … why change?”