Former Crowder pitcher
Lee Martin dies at 23 in Arkansas
By Cody Thorn,
The Neosho Daily News, December 19, 2009
A little more than a year ago Lee Martin was released by the Minnesota
Twins organization after putting together two solid years.
Martin, a right-handed pitcher, was 4-2 with a 4.60 earned run average
and averaged 7.18 strikeouts per/9 innings while playing for the Elizabethton
Twins, an A-ball team of the Twins in 2008. His first year of pro baseball
he played for the Gulf Coast League Twins and was 2-1 with a 3.21 earned
run average. All told, he was 6-3 overall in 28 games played between the
A chance to play baseball again ended this week.
Martin died Tuesday, after the 23-year old died from a sudden illness
in Batesville, Ark. According to the Batesville Daily Guard, officers
responded to a house and found Martin dead around 5:40 a.m. Tuesday morning.
His funeral was Friday at Concord High School in Concord, Ark.
He was probably one of the two most naturally gifted athletes Ive
worked with, both baseball and basketball, said his Concord High
School baseball coach Mark Rush to Andrea Bruner of the Batesville Daily
Guard this week. He was an outstanding athlete all the way around.
A former Crowder College Roughrider, Martin accomplished a lot in his
short time playing baseball. He was a 18th round draft pick by the Twins
in 2007 after playing at Southern Arkansas.
After a very successful prep career at Concord, Ark., he signed with Crowder
Where can I start with Lee, said former teammate Josh Fritsche.
Lee and myself both grew up in small towns in Arkansas, playing
for Class 1A schools, where we both won state championships. I told Coach
(Travis) Lallemand about two boys from Concord and he needed to bring
them to Crowder to play ball. Lee and I bonded right off the bat and became
best friends. I almost considered myself as a role model for him because
he was always in my room and always asking questions about pitching.
He has some of the best talent that Ive seen coming out of
junior college. Lee Martin was more than a friend to me and the people
that played with him at Crowder. He was a brother, part of a family that
will always be there for him. Now, he will look down on us.
Lallemand, now the head coach, was the pitching coach when Martin landed
at Crowder in 2005.
He was a freaking bulldog on the mound, Lallemand recalls.
He threw in high 80s and low 90s and was usually between 90 and
92 (miles per hour) with two good pitches. He was a kid from a small school
but came up here and got after it. There were high expectations for him.
If he stayed at Crowder, I thought he had the potential to be a top 10
When asked to sum him up as a player, Lallemand said, He had the
ability to sign with Arkansas, so that says a lot.
Martin, after a year at Crowder, signed with Arkansas, but wasnt
able to attend there. He then had a chance to play at Oklahoma State,
but ended up at Southern Arkansas, one of the top Division II programs
in the country. There, he was coached by former Crowder player Allen Gum,
before being drafted by Minnesota.
Living in the dorm, right next to Martins room, was Neoshos
Taylor House, who played one year at SAU.
He was a great athlete and not your typical pitcher, House
said. He was a 6-foot guy who could do a 360-dunk with a basketball.
Martin is the son of Karl and Becky Martin of Drasco, Ark. He is also
survived by a son, Jett, who is 3 years old.
Three years ago he was on campus and now he is dead
hard to believe, said Lallemand.