Tino Martinez, born Constantino Martinez on December 7, 1967 in Tampa, Florida, has been among the most consistent run producers in Major League Baseball since breaking in with the Seattle Mariners in 1990.
Tino's first full season in the big leagues came in 1992, when he split time between first base and Designated Hitter for the Mariners, who finished at the bottom of the American League. Martinez's numbers were average, and he exhibited his nimble play at first when given the chance. 1993 saw him improve marginally, and he set a personal home run best in 1994, slugging 20 in the strike shortened season.
In 1995 the Mariners were finally ready for the postseason, and Tino's breakout year was a big reason. With the team's superstar, Ken Griffey, Jr., out much of the year with a broken wrist, he carried an increased amount of the offensive load. He established career highs with 31 home runs, 111 RBI, and a .293 batting average, and the Mariners got all the way to the ALCS before being stopped by the Cleveland Indians.
In the offseason he was traded to the New York Yankees with relief pitchers Jim Mecir and Jeff Nelson for pitcher Sterling Hitchcock and 3B Russ Davis. He would be replacing THE Yankee of the 80's, Don Mattingly. With that pressure he started slowly, but he came on strong to help the Yankees win their first World Series since 1978. He was the cornerstone of the late 90's Yankees dynasty, leading them to five pennants and four championships.
With the Yankees picking up free agent first baseman Jason Giambi following their near miss in 2001. In the offseason that year he signed a 3 year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he would yet again be replacing an iconic first baseman, Mark McGwire. His offensive skills are on the wane, but he remains one of the game's premier defensive first basemen.
sources: www.baseball-reference.com, www.baseballlibrary.com, St. Louis Cardinals media guide 2003 edition.