GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College Baseball Coach Randy Martz was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame on May 12.
“I am honored to be selected and to join this talented group of athletes,” Martz said.
Martz was one of college baseball’s most outstanding players as a junior with the University of South Carolina Gamecocks in the 1977 season when he posted a 14-0 record as the team’s pitcher.
Martz was recruited by USC to play football after graduating in 1974 from Upper Dauphin High School in Elizabethville, near his hometown of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
“I always enjoyed football a lot and never lost a game in my high school years playing quarterback,” Martz said. “In high school basketball I earned 1,000 points which set a record and made the high school’s wall of fame. But there was always baseball. I pitched and played third base in high school.”
At USC, Martz eventually traded the pigskin for a baseball and returned to pitching. It wasn’t long before the 6-foot, 4-inch, 210-pound right-hander led coach June Raines’ first Carolina team to the championship round of the College World Series in 1977.
That “perfect 14-0 season” earned Martz National Player of the Year honors as well as NCAA First Team All-American. He also was Academic All American.
The Chicago Cubs selected Martz in the first round of the 1977 draft — the No. 12 pick overall. He pitched for the Cubs from 1980-82 and in 1983 for the White Sox. After his pro career, Martz became a coach.
“I tried coaching and found I really liked it,” Martz said. “Working as head coach at Lewis and Clark and pitching coach for the Gateway Grizzlies is a good deal for me. I like helping players develop to their fullest potential and just being around the game.”
In 1996, Martz’s Lewis and Clark Trailblazers placed third in the JUCO World Series and were inducted into the L&C Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.
During his 24 years at Lewis and Clark and more than 15 years in the Frontier League, Martz has coached several players who have gone on to play professional baseball including Diamondbacks pitcher Joe Thatcher and Jason Isringhausen, who has played for the Mets, Athletics, Cardinals and Rays.
Martz said baseball is a family tradition.
“There have been a long list of mentors throughout my career, but it was my dad Carl who taught me baseball and the love of the game,” Martz said of his late father. “Dad was an avid baseball player. He started little league in Elizabethville. Some of my earliest memories were tossing around the baseball with my dad. I’ve loved the game ever since I can remember.”
Coach Martz’s son Nelson, a standout pitcher for Roxana High School, will be joining the Lewis and Clark team for the 2014 season. He recently gained a spot on the 2014 PNC Bank High School Baseball Showcase roster at Busch Stadium this June. Sons Nolan and Nathan also were standout high school baseball players who played for the Trailblazers.
Martz and his wife, Paula, reside in East Alton. Martz is the son of Mary Martz of Elizabethville, Pennsylvania.
Also inducted into the SC Hall of Fame were former NFL player Brian Dawkins, Clemson football standout Rodney Williams, basketball lead scorer Zam Fredrick, South Carolina State football standout Edwin Bailey, Olympian Monique Hennagan, state golf legend Happ Lathrop, and Newberry basketball standout Carl Short.