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Book documents Martin Sr.’s impact on FSU, college baseball

The U.S. hockey team had just stunned the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics and on Feb. 24, 1980 defeated Finland for an unlikely gold medal. 

That same day, in Coral Gables, Florida State freshman right fielder Mike Yastrzemski smacked a three-run, ninth-inning home run to give the FSU baseball team a 9-8 victory. With his father, Carl, stressed but cheering on, his son delivered what would be the game-winning hit and victory No. 1 for 11 — Mike Martin Sr.

“It was the weekend that Martin, fondly called “11” — his uniform number — started a career that is unequalled in college baseball history and became a valued ambassador for the game. His faith-based approach to coaching led him to become the winningest coach in the history of the game,” broadcaster and author Jim Crosby wrote.

There are few people more qualified to document the decades of Martin Sr.’s career at FSU than Crosby, who has known Martin for 40-plus years and broadcast more than 700 FSU baseball games. (Crosby also has through the decades contributed to the Osceola.)

The book is a journey through the Martin Sr.’s decades at FSU, and of 2,029 wins, but more so of the stories behind the people who were a part of those games and teams. And there are gems like these: “If you have a bad fielder in the game the ball will find him.”

In writing “11: Making baseball history,” Crosby sat down with Martin Sr. as well as 40 players and assistant coaches for one-on-one interviews to bring stories on the coach to the pages of his book. The book also includes color photos of the Martin family as well as his FSU family, the 600-plus players he coached through the decades in Tallahassee.

Signed copies of 11: Making Baseball History are available now at Hearth and Soul on 1410 Market Street in Tallahassee as well as on Amazon.com. It will also be available at more bookstores in future weeks.