ST. LOUIS -- Offered the opportunity to wear a nickname as part of Major League Baseball's Players Weekend initiative, Jose Martinez chose not to don his given nickname, 'Cafecito,' but rather to highlight another.
This weekend, Martinez is "Café," just as his father once was.
Martinez's father, Carlos, was branded with a coffee nickname just like all of his brothers. There was Mocha, Decaf, Cappuccino and Café -- nicknames coined by Carlos' father, who loved his coffee. Jose Martinez later became Cafecito, which translates to "Little Cup of Coffee."
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Carlos Martinez, perhaps best remembered for hitting a home run off the head of Jose Canseco, played parts of seven seasons in the Major Leagues. He was also a star back home in the Venezuelan Winter Leagues, which is where Jose Martinez remembers watching his dad most on the baseball field.
Martinez said he's heard from friends and family back in Venezuela about how excited everyone is to see him bring attention to his father, who passed away in 2006 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Many of them also insist they see a lot of Carlos Martinez in the son he left behind.
"Even when I was a little kid, people said you look like your father," Jose Martinez said. "I do things like him. It just comes natural like that."
While several players used Players Weekend to recognize the impact of family members on their sleeve patches, Martinez was the only Cardinal to do so on the back of his uniform.
"It's something that I could do for my father," Martinez said. "It's an honor for me to wear his nickname on my jersey."