Card: This is Martz's third and final Topps card. His rookie card was a three player card in '81.
Picture: Martz and his wispy mustache are shown following through after a pitch. Looks like a sunny day at the ballpark.
Player: Martz was chosen 12th overall in the first round in the '77 draft. Having recorded a perfect 14-0 record at South Carolina, Martz was promoted as the future ace of the Cubs. Martz soon worked his way up to AAA, but was hit hard in both '78 and '79. Martz earned a September call up in 1980 after going 8-6 with a 3.13 ERA. Plugged into the rotation, Martz made six starts, winning one and losing two with a 2.08 ERA. Martz pitched to contact and although he gave up only seven earned runs, he also gave up seven more unearned runs and only managed to strikeout five batters in 30.1 innings.
In '82 Martz started and finished the year in the bullpen but made 14 starts in May, June, and July. Overall Martz went 5-7 with a 3.68 ERA and recorded six saves.
Martz was the Cubs number five starter in '82 and earned eleven wins with ten defeats and a 4.21 ERA. A control pitcher who threw a lot of ground balls, Martz' strikeout totals were ridiculously low. In 147.2 innings he only whiffed 40 batters.
Perhaps disappointed with there once promising prospect, the Cubs shipped Martz across town with Scott Fletcher, Pat Tabler and Dick Tidrow to the Chicago White Sox for Warren Brusstar and Steve Trout. Pitching mostly at AAA Denver, Martz did pitch one game for the White Sox in '83. Martz received a no decision after allowing two runs in five innings of work.
Martz spent '84 and '85 getting roughed up at the AAA level for three different teams before retiring at age 29.
Stuff: I couldn't find any description of Martz' arsenal. Looking at his stats it appears he got a lot of ground balls and didn't have much of an out pitch. I did find a quote saying he threw 90 mph at one point but struggled to get guys out when after an injury he couldn't break 85.
Flipside: Nice wax stain on the back, eh? I read that Martz played three years as a tight end for the South Carolina Gamecocks. How do you think a 215 lb tight end would fare in the SEC now-a-days?
Oddball: Like other pitchers with low strikeout totals Martz had to rely on keeping the ball in the park and timely double plays for him to be effective. Here is a good article about pitchers with low strikeouts rates.
History: Martz was a disappointment to Cubs fans and management who expected much more from the former first round pick. Martz went into coaching and has been the manager for Lewis and Clark Community College since 1991.