Tuesday, August 28
Martin reportedly lied about past
ESPN.com news services
SEATTLE -- Al Martin apparently has an active imagination and has been less than truthful about his college athletic exploits, the Seattle Times reported Tuesday.
Martin, a Seattle Mariners outfielder, has repeatedly told stories about his experiences playing football for USC in the late 1980s. The Times revealed on Tuesday that there is no evidence that Martin ever suited up for the Trojans.
Martin, the Mariners' left fielder, told The Times in May that crashing into teammate Carlos Guillen during a Mariners game reminded him of a 1986 football game between USC and Michigan. "For some reason, probably because I was young and dumb, I decided I could make a head-on stop of (Michigan's) Leroy Hoard," Martin said in May. "I hit him, or rather he hit me. You remember those big tree-trunk legs Hoard had? That's what hit me."
But after a source pointed out to the newspaper that USC had not played Michigan in 1986 or at all in the decade before the 1989 Rose Bowl, the Times began investigating whether Martin had actually played for USC.
Coaches and players at USC and at Martin's high school in West Covina, Calif., say they have no knowledge of Martin ever attending or playing at the university, and USC has no record of him ever having enrolled, receiving scholarship money or playing in a game. He also is not in any of the USC team pictures, the Times reported. The story of Martin attending USC on a football scholarship has been in baseball media guides for the three major league teams he has played for -- the Pittsburgh Pirates, the San Diego Padres and the Mariners. The story has also appeared in several newspaper articles over the years. The information for those accounts was provided by Martin.
When asked about the discrepancy a month ago, Martin told the Times he would provide proof the next day. That has not happened, and Martin has had no further comment on the record.
Mariners spokesman Tim Hevly, who spoke with a USC official, said he would remove the inaccurate information from the team media guide's next edition.
On another matter, Martin apparently misinformed the Times during spring training when he said he had been exonerated from a domestic violence misdemeanor conviction that stemmed from a fight he had with a woman who claimed he had married her while he was still married to someone else.
A recent check with the prosecuting attorney in Scottsdale, Ariz., confirmed that he pleaded guilty, spent a night in jail and remains on probation until November 2002, the Times reported.