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'Tsunami' excited to don Players Weekend gear

Martinez, Cardinals will be among 1st to sport jerseys in Williamsport, Pa.
MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Making waves is something Carlos Martinez has done since he started playing professional baseball, which makes his "Tsunami" nickname fitting.

When Martinez learned that he could choose a moniker for the back of his jersey, made by Majestic Athletic, for the inaugural Players Weekend on Aug. 25-27, the decision to wear "Tsunami" was instantaneous.

ST. LOUIS -- Making waves is something Carlos Martinez has done since he started playing professional baseball, which makes his "Tsunami" nickname fitting.

When Martinez learned that he could choose a moniker for the back of his jersey, made by Majestic Athletic, for the inaugural Players Weekend on Aug. 25-27, the decision to wear "Tsunami" was instantaneous.

Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com

"'Tsunami' started when I started playing in the Dominican League and coming up. I feel comfortable with that name," Martinez said through an interpreter. "That's just what everyone kind of knows me as. I feel comfortable in that name, and I feel happy."

Martinez's path to professional baseball was not an easy one. He grew up in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, in a modest home with few resources. His journey to reaching his dreams included changing from a position player to a pitcher and going through extensive tryouts with different organizations. Martinez finally signed with the Cardinals in 2010.

Players Weekend: Nicknames of the game 

It didn't take long for the pitcher to show what he was capable of. Martinez earned the nickname in his first professional season with the Dominican Summer League. With the power of his fastball reaching over 100 mph, a fan yelled that Martinez was so impressive, "he's like a tsunami taking over this League." The name caught on, with everyone in the DSL referring to him as "Tsunami" instead of Carlos.

Martinez carried the name to the big leagues, where he has certainly maintained his dominant presence. He also founded a nonprofit organization called Tsunami Waves, which he uses to give back to children in the Dominican Republic and St. Louis. Martinez will represent his foundation throughout Players Weekend, as players will have the opportunity during pregame workouts and postgame interviews to wear T-shirts highlighting a charity or cause of their choice.

Video: ATL@STL: Martinez strikes out the side

Martinez often hosts Dominican children at the ballpark and makes time to meet with them, in addition to raising money for his hometown and returning to help distribute food, water and clothing, as well as baseball equipment.

"Obviously a tsunami is something big, something impactful, so we want to cause an impact," Martinez said through an interpreter. "I want my charity to be something big and that will leave an impact, so that's kind of why I named it Tsunami Waves."

In addition to the jerseys, players will wear specially designed caps by New Era and unique socks from Stance.

Cardinals excited to open Players Weekend

Each player also will wear a special patch on his sleeve showing the progression of a child evolving into a Major Leaguer. Under that logo is white space, and every player will mark the name of a person whom they are grateful to for helping them advance their careers, such as family or a coach.

Martinez will get an early opportunity to sport his moniker, as the uniforms will first be worn by the Cardinals and Pirates during the MLB Little League Classic to be played in Williamsport, Pa., on Sunday, during the 2017 Little League World Series. That game will take place at Bowman Field, home of the Williamsport Crosscutters, a Phillies affiliate in the Class A Short-Season New York-Penn League.

Game-worn Players Weekend jerseys will be auctioned at MLB.com/auctions, with 100 percent of net proceeds donated to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, a joint effort established in July 2015 by MLB and the MLBPA with an initial commitment of $30 million focused on improving the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the U.S. and Canada

Alaina Getzenberg is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

St. Louis Cardinals, Carlos Martinez