A former member of the St. Louis Cardinals who is now retired from Major League Baseball has found a way to stay in the game and to give something to youngsters. Tino Martinez , who played first base for the Cardinals in 2002 and 2003, is now working with the Diamonds in the Rough Program .
Diamonds in the Rough, now in its fourth year, encourages young players – ages 7 through 14 – to write an essay recognizing the coaches, parents, or mentors who have made a difference in the young players’ lives.
The essays are expected to be about 300 words. They are being written this month, with winners chosen in May, and prizes scheduled to be awarded in June. Prizes include money to improve local baseball teams and their fields and baseball memorabilia.
While Martinez is very much involved in this venture, he keeps a close eye on the Redbirds. He says he still has a lot of friends on the Cardinals – third baseman Scott Rolen being one of his best friends in the game – and was thrilled to see the team win the World Series last year. Martinez, who ended his playing career with the New York Yankees, now coaches at the University of South Florida.