TAMPA BAY, Florida – Oklahoma Native American Pitcher Trevor Martin was selected for the 2022 Major League Baseball Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays in the third-round pick. He currently plays as a sophomore pitcher for Oklahoma State University. Martin is a Potawatomi Citizen and also has Muscogee (Creek) Ancestry.
Martin appeared in 30 games during the past season for OSU. During that season, he threw 47 innings and developed a 4.75 ERA with 79 total strikeouts.
“Where I grew up, everybody played. It’s a tradition that we did there,” Martin said. “It’s just something we did, and I loved it.”
In the 150-year history of the MLB, less than 20,000 players have had the privilege to play professionally. It’s a league with very few Native Americans making the cut. When Martin’s name was announced, it was a moment he had been waiting for his whole life.
“I always thought there was a chance,” Martin said. “It was kind of a surreal moment. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, it’s always been a dream of mine to play professional baseball, and I’m finally getting the chance.”
Martin joins a very small pool of players that have represented his heritage. According to Baseball Almanac, 52 Native Americans of various tribes have played in the MLB. Of those 52, three were Muscogee (Creek), and three were Potawatomi.
“It means a lot,” Martin said. “I feel like one of the people who other Native Americans or people of my tribe can look up to and follow their dreams in baseball or literally whatever they want to do.”
The MLB has seen its fair share of controversy regarding the depiction of Native American Culture. The 2022 Season saw Cleveland change their mascot from the Indians to the Guardians, the first time they have changed the name in over 100 years. The infamous “Tomahawk Chop” gesture can still be seen at Atlanta Braves games today, to the chagrin of Native American Activists.
While some may argue the MLB still has work to do in respecting Native American Culture, athletes like Martin show the next generation what is possible.
Martin’s advice for Indigenous Athletes who want to follow in his footsteps is to keep going for it.”Keep striving for what you want to do. If you want to play professional baseball, keep going,” Martin said.
When asked what he looks forward to most in Florida, Martin said he’s just looking forward to playing baseball.