The Mariners' greatest hitter, Edgar Martinez, threw out the ceremonial first pitch Friday night before the first combined no-hitter in club history. But that may not have been the biggest event of the day for the Martinez family.
Earlier on Friday, the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs held its graduation for students receiving their masters degrees in public administration. Among the Evans students taking part in the degree ceremony was Holli Martinez. And the family's foundation was holding a fund raiser at the Mariners' game that day to help support its efforts on behalf of equity in education.
Mariner starting pitcher Kevin Millwood had to leave the game because of an injury after six innings. Five other pitchers threw in relief, holding the Los Angeles Dodgers hitless in a 1-0 victory for the Mariners.
Both Edgar and Holli Martinez returned to school in the middle of the last decade, after the designated hitter's retirement from the Mariners in 2004. Holli Martinez received her undergraduate degree from the UW in 2008, graduating magna cum laude.
The family's Martinez Foundation says this about her, the charitable organization's co-founder and president:
Holli Martinez returned to school at the University of Washington, where she studied society, ethics and human behavior. She became aware of the troubling gap between the number of minority teachers and students in public schools, and discovered that these students often have better academic outcomes when they have teachers who share similar cultural backgrounds and can serve as role models. She was determined to make a difference, and in 2008, Holli and her husband Edgar founded The Martinez Foundation to promote, support, and retain exceptional teachers of color in Washington State public schools.
Holli's passion for education is a driving force in The Martinez Foundation, and her main focus as president has been collaborating with the foundation's partners to develop support programs that will enable and sustain teachers of color to teach in underserved areas.
Holli has been an active community volunteer and advocate for over a decade, supporting a variety of non-profits and community organizations including Hopelink, Ronald McDonald House, Children’s Hospital, Powerful Schools and Washington Women in Need.
Edgar Martinez, the CEO of the foundation, completed the Executive Development Program at the UW's Foster School of Business after retiring from the team. The Mariners' blog on MLB.com reported that he was taking part in the first-pitch because he was going to be at the game anyway for the fund raiser for the foundation the couple heads. The Mariners have supported the foundation's efforts toward equity in education, and so have individual players: the blog posting noted that All-Star pitcher Felix Hernandez had purchased 100 tickets as part of the event.
The Martinez Foundation's home page is here. Among other things, the site says:
We believe every student regardless of race, ethnicity or socio-economic status deserves access to an excellent education. The consequences of the status quo are economically, socially and morally impermissible.
Our mission is to prepare and support diverse and highly-qualified teachers who will raise expectations, accelerate learning and close the achievement gap by granting scholarships and promoting innovative social justice curriculum.