Martinez, who was born in New York City but grew up in Puerto Rico, lead off the bottom of the seventh inning with a home run off Dominican starter Pedro Martinez. The home run by Edgar Martinez tied the game at 3-3.
Martinez stroked another solo home run the next inning off reliever Francisco Cordero. Puerto Rico went on to win 6-4.
One of the best parts of the APBA baseball game is the ability to create all sorts of fantasy teams. Lately, I've been going through all my sets -- about 20 seasons ranging from 1949 to 2014 -- to create teams of players born in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Cuba.
All the squads are essentially all-star teams populated by assorted hall-of-famers and grade-A pitchers. (And easily identified using the sorted lists on Baseball Almanac and Baseball Reference!)
So, for example, Puerto Rico's starting lineup featured:
Roberto Alomar, 2B
Bernie Williams, CF
Roberto Clemente, RF
Edgar Martinez, DH
Juan Gonzalez, LF
Carlos Delgado, 1B
Mike Lowell, 3B
Ivan Rodriguez, C
Ivan DeJesus, SS
In this contest, Javier Vazquez (BXYZ) started the game, yielding to relief from Eduardo Rodriguez and Ramon Hernandez.
Among those available on the bench? Yadier Molina and Jorge Posada, Orlando Cepeda, Carlos Beltran and Sixto Lezcano, one of my favorite players from the late-'70s Brewers teams!
In this particular game, Dominican second baseman Robinson Cano got the visitors on the board with a two-run home run in the first inning. Lead-off man center fielder Cesar Cedeno had reached on an error by left fielder Gonzalez to start the game.
Williams and Gonzalez each hit a solo home run for Puerto Rico to tie the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning.
After a walk to Dominican DH Manny Ramirez in the seventh, pinch runner Alfonso Soriano stole second, went to third on a deep fly ball to right by Vlad Guerrero, then scored on a balk by Vazquez.
Martinez tied the game in the bottom of the seventh with his first homer. Gonzalez followed with a single. Jose Cruz then came on to pinch run, stealing second. Delgado walked. While I seldom call for a sacrifice, Lowell executed a perfect bunt, advancing the runners to second and third. Rodriquez then hit a single to drive in one run, and Beltran followed with a sacrifice fly to score Delgado and give Puerto Rico a 5-3 lead.
In the top of the eighth, Cedeno lead off the inning with a single off Rodriquez, who gave way to Ramon Hernandez. After Cano advanced Cedeno to second with a grounder to second, Albert Pujols drove in Cedeno with a single before Hernandez ended the threat. Score: 5-4.
Edgar Martinez closed out the scoring with his second home run in the bottom of the eighth inning. Hernandez returned to the mound in the ninth, earning the save. Rodriguez got the win over Pedro Martinez.
I'm looking forward to many interesting match-ups in the weeks ahead.
Here are the rosters:
C-Ivan Rodriguez, Yadier Molina, Jorge Posada
1B-Orlando Cepeda, Carlos Delgado
2B-Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Joey Cora, Rey Sanchez
SS-Ivan DeJesus, Alex Cora
3B-Mike Lowell, Edgar Martinez
OF-Carlos Beltran, Roberto Clemente, Jose Cruz, Juan Gonzalez, Sixto Lezcano, Bernie Williams
SP-Javier Vazquez (BXYZ), John Candelaria* (AYZ), Jaime Navarro (BZ), Ed Figueroa (BZ), Juan Pizarro (C(B*)W)
RP-Javier Lopez (A), Juan Romero (A&CX), Luis DeLeon (AYZ), Eduardo Rodriguez (D(B*)Y), Willie Hernandez (C(B*)YZ), Pedro Feliciano (BXZ), Roberto Hernandez (BKY), Ramon Hernandez (A&CYZ)
*Note: Candelaria, like Edgar Martinez, was born in New York City to Puerto Rican parents.
C-Tony Pena, Miguel Olivo, Wilin Rosario
1B-Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Edwin Encarnacion
2B-Robinson Cano, Juan Uribe
SS-Miguel Tejada, Hanley Ramirez
3B-Adrian Beltre, Aramis Ramirez
OF-Cesar Cedeno, Nelson Cruz, Cesar Geronimo, Pedro Guerrero, Vlad Guerrero, Manny Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Sammy Sosa
SP-Juan Marichal (AYZ), Pedro Martinez (AXYZ), Johnny Cueto (AX), Joaquin Andujar (AZ), Ubaldo Jimenez (AX), Mario Soto (BXYZ), Joel Pineiro (BY)
RP-Bill Castro (AZ), Armando Benitez (AX), Fernando Rodney (A&BXYZ), Francisco Cordero (AX), Rafael Soriano (A&CXZ)
C-Miguel Montero, Victor Martinez
1B-Miguel Cabrera, Andres Galarraga
2B-Marcos Scutaro, Jose Altuve
SS-Dave Concepcion, Asdrubal Cabrera
3B-Pablo Sandoval, Melvin Mora
OF-Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Gonzalez, Bobby Abreu, Gerardo Parra, Endy Chavez, Franklin Gutierrez
SP-Felix Hernandez (AXYZ), Johan Santana (AXZ), Kelvim Escobar (BY), Freddy Garcia (BZ), Anibal Sanchez (AXY)
RP-Yoevis Medina (AXW), Edward Mujica (BYZ), Jose Mijares (AX), Ugueth Urbina (BXYZ), Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez (A&CXYW)
C-Yasmani Grandal, Brayan Pena, Paul Casanova
1B-Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Abreu, Kendrys Morales
2B-Tony Taylor, Tito Fuentes
SS-Bert Campaneris, Yunel Escobar, Yuniesky Betancourt, Orlando Martinez
3B-Tony Perez, Jose Iglesias
OF-Yasiel Puig, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Canseco, Jorge Soler, Leonys Martin
SP-Luis Tiant (AY), Mike Cuellar (AYZ), Jose Fernandez (AXY), Roenis Elias (CY), Livan Hernandez (C),
RP-Tony Fossas (A&CXYZ), Aroldis Chapman (A&CXY), Vladimir Nunez (BY), Diego Segui (C(B*)X), Oscar Zamora (BZ), Jose Contreras (BXZ)