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Buck Martinez’s Cancer
Members of the Toronto Blue Jays gathered by home plate at Rogers Centre to welcome back Buck Martinez, and an unplanned reception queue was formed. The veteran Blue Jays announcer was eager to be greeted by outfielder Raimel Tapia, interim manager John Schneider, and other team staff members. Martinez, 73, left his position in mid-April after learning that he had cancer. Since finishing his cancer treatment, he has returned to the broadcast booth. On Tuesday night, Toronto welcomed the St. Louis Cardinals of the National League.
Dan Shulman, Martinez’s broadcast partner for Tuesday’s game, stood close as Martinez shook hands with numerous Blue Jays players. “We were all hoping this day would come this year, but we had to wait and see how his treatment was going, and how he was feeling,” Shulman said. It’s fantastic. It’s wonderful to see him again because he has been a part of the franchise in Toronto for more than 40 years. The Blue Jays paid respect to Martinez between the top and bottom of the second inning. All of Toronto’s relievers and starting lineup saluted him from the broadcast booth on the Rogers Centre’s 300 level behind home plate as they exited the bullpen and dugout, respectively.
On the stadium’s big screen, Martinez could be seen giving the crowd a bow and putting his hand to his heart to express his gratitude. Additionally, several homemade welcome-back signs made by fans were displayed on-screen while his family was pictured sitting in their seats. His involvement with the Blue Jays began in 1981, the beginning of a six-year run as one of the team’s catchers. Martinez spent 17 years in Major League Baseball, spending time with the Milwaukee Brewers and Kansas City Royals. He was appointed manager of the Blue Jays in 2001, but after collecting a record of 100-115, he was let go midway through his second season.