Before Scott Brosius, there was Bob Martyn.
The first Linfield alumnus to play baseball in the major leagues was Bob Martyn, class of 1952. He joins his father, the late Bernard Martyn (class of '28), as one of two father-son combinations in the Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame. Bernard was inducted in 1999.
Bob came to Linfield in 1948 like his father, his aunt, Lillian Turner Millsap ('36) and his uncle, Bill Turner ('49), before him and because it was affiliated with the Baptist church he belonged to. Baseball coach Henry Lever immediately reassigned him to the outfield from short stop, his high school position in Twin Falls, Idaho. "That was probably a major break for my future," Martyn said.
Bob was chosen to the Northwest Conference all-star outfield in 1950, '51 and '52. He helped the Wildcats win conference championships in 1950 and '51.
"The graceful way he played the outfield reminded me of Joe Dimaggio. He glided to the ball," recalls former Linfield athletics director Paul Durham.
Martyn reached the pinnacle of his professional baseball career in 1957-58, when he played for the Kansas City Athletics in the American League. Before and after that, Martyn was in the New York Yankees organization, where he achieved a number of honors, including:
• Batting 5-for-6 in his first professional game on July 4, 1952 in Pocatello, Idaho.
• Being named to league all-star teams three times, including in class AAA, the highest classification below the major leagues. In 1956 he hit two home runs in the American Association (AAA) all-star game and was named Most Valuable Player of the game.
After his baseball career ended in 1960, Martyn put the academic skills he had honed at Linfield to work. He had graduated cum laude with a double major, mathematics and sociology, in 1952. He earned his masters in education in 1959, studying between baseball seasons, which were in turn were interrupted by two years in the U.S. Army.
After baseball, he worked for 23 years for Tektronix in positions including employment manager, compensation manager and personnel manager. In 1983 he helped found a human resources consultant service, from which he retired after 13 years.
Bob served two terms on the Linfield Alumni Board and was president in 1973.
And, just to show how well-rounded this great athlete was, we should note that at Linfield he also sang in the Chapel Choir and was senior class president.