July 30, 2012
Former Sun Devil Marty Barrett will be inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame on August 3, but before he was considered one of the best all-around second basemen in the team's history, Barrett was a First-Team All-Conference third basemen on the 1979 Arizona State baseball team.
Barrett says his season in Tempe played a major factor in preparing him both mentally and physically to be successful at the professional level. He likened the ASU baseball program to a minor league farm team because of the rigorous competition amongst his teammates, and said that when he was navigating his way through the pro ranks, people assumed he was really good just because he played for the Sun Devils.
"The greatest thing about ASU is you just feel like when you step on the field, being from ASU and people knowing that," Barrett said, "that mentally I had the advantage."
The 1979 team, coached by the legendary Jim Brock, marked the first season for ASU baseball in the Pac-10. The team finished 32-31 as Barrett was one of three players on that year's team, along with first baseman Mike Anicich and outfielder Ed Irvine, to earn first-team all-conference recognition.
"The greatest thing about ASU is you just feel like when you step on the field, being from ASU and people knowing that, that mentally I had the advantage."
Barrett played against fellow Sun Devil alums Barry Bonds, Alvin Davis, Odidbe McDowell and Kevin Romine, among others, during his hall-of-fame career, and is 100 percent committed to attending Arizona State's 100th MLB celebration, which is planned for Feb. 9 in conjunction with the program's annual Alumni Weekend.
He is proud to be one of the 100 Sun Devils to play Major League Baseball, and says that group is a testament to all who've worn the interlocking AS. With 31 MLB draft picks in the past three years, ASU baseball products have been filling professional rosters at a staggering pace and Barrett still thinks Tempe is a great place for any aspiring baseball star.
"I truly believe that most kids, if they had a choice to go to ASU or another school in the country, they're just more than likely going to take ASU," Barrett said. "It still has that type of rich history, the weathers fantastic and the schools becoming amazing academically, too."
Barrett says that while the Sun Devils' storied tradition has kept it in the upper echelon of programs, ASU will continue to be the top collegiate baseball destination in the county because of current head coach Tim Esmay. Barrett was really impressed by coach Esmay's easy-going personality and calm demeanor, and said that kind of disposition will draw the best players in the nation to the desert.
"Once it gets around the country that [coach Esmay] is an even-keeled guy and fun to play for," Barrett said, "that always helps. Sometimes that word-of-mouth stuff makes all the difference. I think he's a great fit, I like the way he runs the club and it's starting to build on its self."
Coach Esmay's son, Tucker, has been an infielder on the team for the past two seasons, as has assistant coach Mike Benjamin's son, Michael. Barrett says these type of father-son legacies embody the family atmosphere of Sun Devil baseball, and the longer this tradition is continued, the better off ASU is going to be.
That inclusive family atmosphere has led Barrett to consider ASU baseball as a fraternity of sorts, and he makes sure to keep in touch with his fellow Sun Devil alumni. He attends ASU football games with his good friend and old college roommate Steve Todare, who also played for the Sun Devils in 1979, and still talks baseball with players such as Mike Hagerty, Bob Horner and Kenny Phelps.
Barrett, who currently resides in Las Vegas where he has lived the majority of his life, has four brothers and a sister living in Chandler, Gilbert and Tempe, respectively, and is strongly considering moving back down to the Phoenix valley with his wife.
If he does decide to move back to the desert, he said he would love to reach out to coach Esmay and do whatever he could to help the program, as nothing would please Barrett more than seeing ASU win two or three more World Series' in the coming years.
"I still take a lot of pride in being a Sun Devil, so I love answering the question when people ask me where I went [to school]," Barrett said. "I'm almost waiting for them to ask me that."
The 2012 class for the Red Sox Hall of Fame includes Barrett, Curt Schilling and Fenway Park creator John I. Taylor, among others. Induction ceremonies will take place during a luncheon at Fenway Park with special ceremonies on the field before that night's game against Minnesota. The Red Sox Hall of Fame was created in 1995 and considers candidates for election every other year. This year's class brings the number of Red Sox Hall of Famers to 81.
Barrett, who played second base for the Red Sox from 1982-90, was the American League Championship Series MVP in 1986 as he helped lead the team to the World Series. He hit .367 in the ALCS and .433 average in the World Series, and set a then-single-season playoff record with 24 hits and tied the World Series record of 13 hits. He also did not commit an error in 14 postseason games.
He topped AL second basemen in fielding percentage in 1987 and double plays in 1985 and is in the top three all-time for the team in five defensive categories.
The Red Sox took Barrett in 1979 in the first round of the June Secondary Phase of the Major League Draft.