Ex-Revs infielder Marte remembered as 'wonderful guy'

Patrick Strohecker
  • Former York Revolution infielder Andy Marte was killed in a car accident on Sunday morning in the Dominican Republic.
  • Marte played 96 games for the Revs in 2013, hitting .301 with 19 home runs and 74 RBIs before having his contract purchased by the Angels.
  • Marte played 308 big league games over parts of seven seasons, hitting .218 with 21 home runs and 99 RBIs.

Andy Marte spent less than a season in York playing for the Revolution, but he'll always be remembered as one of the franchise's special players.

He is one of eight players in franchise history to play in York and then make it back to the big leagues following his stint with the Revs.

Andy Marte of the York Revolution runs the bags after connecting with a three-run home run against Southern Maryland in 2013. Marte was killed in a car accident on Sunday.

Sunday morning, members of the York front office received the devastating news that Marte was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic. He was 33 years old. It was one of two tragic car accidents involving professional baseball players in the Dominican on Sunday morning. Yordano Ventura, a 25-year-old pitching phenom with the Kansas City Royals, also died in a separate accident.

Marte died when the Mercedes Benz he was driving hit a house along a road between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital of Santo Domingo.

The Dominican, whose roads are among the world’s most dangerous, has now lost four current or former major leaguers to traffic accidents in recent years.

President Danilo Medina posted tweets saying the nation “is dressed in mourning with the deaths of Andy Marte and Yordano Ventura, great sportsmen who raised high our national banner.”

"He was an absolute wonderful guy and I was heartbroken when I saw that news today and I saw the picture of the car," Revs manager Mark Mason said about Marte. "It was a hard morning for me. ... To see any person with their life cut that short is very sobering and it's really hard to put into words. I feel really bad for his family and friends and anybody who knew him really liked him."

Seven years in majors: Marte, who was an infielder, spent seven years at the game's highest level, six of which came before his time in York. From 2005-10, he played in 302 big league games, mostly for the Cleveland Indians. He made his major league debut for the Atlanta Braves in 2005 at the age of 21 before getting traded to the Indians and playing part of every season from 2006-10 with Cleveland.

Marte hit .218 in his big league career, belting 21 home runs with 99 RBIs in 308 games.

Joining York: Following the 2010 season, he was struggling to make it back to the pinnacle of the sport, floating around the minor leagues in 2011. He sat out the 2012 season and then got the call that changed the path of his professional career.

Before the 2013 season, Mason called Marte at his home in the Dominican Republic and offered him a shot to play for the Revolution. He was a big-name get for the Atlantic League, an independent league that prides itself on being a stepping stone for players to either kick-start or relaunch their careers.

"He was a story of the role that the Atlantic League can play in helping a player get his career back on track," Revs team president Eric Menzer said. "Obviously, that's one of the things that we do in our league and he was certainly that guy."

Marte showed up to York's camp that spring and, before an exhibition game leading up to the start of the regular season, Mason remembers Marte telling him that his hamstring wasn't feeling 100 percent and trying to convince the manager into not letting him play in the game. But, Mason told him it was a product of not having played in more than a year and, after the game, Marte thanked Mason for pushing him and making him realize that he wasn't as hurt as he thought.

Big year with Revs: That season, Marte hit .301 with 19 home runs and 74 RBIs in 96 games with the Revs before having his contract purchased by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

"He took the Atlantic League and treated it like it was his big leagues," Mason said. "...He grabbed the bull by the horns, there, and that was his approach every day. He had a wonderful approach and that's why he got signed."

Marte immediately reported to AAA, where he played for the Indianapolis Indians, but the following season was when he got back to the big leagues.

During the offseason, Marte signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he played in six major league games that season, the last six of his baseball career. He spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons playing in South Korea, where he could make more money than bouncing around the minor leagues. Marte hit 22 homers last year.

Marte’s family was holding a vigil for him on Sunday and planned to bury him within hours.

Mason was hoping to bring Marte back to York: Perhaps the most sobering news for Mason and York was the fact that, just in the last week, Mason said he was in contact with Marte. Mason was hoping to bring him back to the Revs for the upcoming season.

"This is a business for these guys and this is how they're living," Menzer said about Marte's approach to playing in York and the Atlantic League. "It is definitely the case that you see different approaches and that professional approach, you definitely saw it. That's sort of the ultimate compliment because, sure it's a game and these guys have athletic gifts that the rest of us can only dream about, but it's not something that you can take lightly and you really have to work at and he clearly had set his mind to saying, 'I want to get back to major league baseball.'"

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com. The Associated Press contributed to this story.