Anita Dolores Martinez was born in La Junta, Colorado but her family moved to Oakland when she was a young girl. She graduated from McClymonds High School (Class of '54), which is also where baseball great Frank Robinson ('53) and basketball legend Bill Russell ('52) attended. Russell, in fact, was in Mom's typing class; she says he spent as much time fixing the typewriters as he did sitting at one. (He later found better use for his hands: defending the post for the 11-time NBA champion Boston Celtics). Frank Robinson is the only player to win a Most Valuable Player award in both leagues, and he held the record for most homeruns by a rookie (38 in 1956) until a guy named McGwire broke it. To have a classmate turn pro is cool enough, but Mom went to high school with two future Hall-of-Famers, in different sports to boot.
I guess the games have always been apart of her life. Mom was born in 1936, as were sports notables Jim Brown, Wilt Chamberlain, Don Drysdale, and John Madden. Baseball's Hall-of-Fame welcomed its first members that year.
And then there was Giuseppe Paolo DiMaggio, Jr. who made his big-league debut two months before my mom was brought into this world. Incidentally, DiMaggio was born not as a Martinez, but in Martinez, not very far from where my grandparents- Abel and Antonia Martinez- would come to call home.
Before he was the Yankee Clipper, DiMaggio was a San Francisco Seal of the Pacific Coast League. He later served as a coach for our very own A's during the team's first season in Oakland in 1968.
The night Jeremy Giambi forgot to slide, we must have had forty family members at the Coliseum. I stood afterwards staring at the empty field, stunned at an opportunity missed. Brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, uncles and aunts, cousins and second cousins filed past me, not one of them saying a word. Finally Mom gently tapped my arm. "Come on Don; it's over."
It surely was.
What isn't over is a marriage that has spanned five decades, including the sixties; when that tumultuous period came to a close, Mom had given birth to her eighth future A's fan in twelve years.
Alas, the more things change, the more they stay the same. On the day my parents were wed, the A's (Kansas City) were in last place, with a 16-25 record, a dozen games behind the Yankees.
Ok, enough of the sappy crap. Don't just sit there, pretending to be working as your boss walks by! Link, people!