FSU Honors Martin

What do Bobby Bowden and Mike Martin have in common? Well, besides the fact that both have been perennial winners in their respective sports at Florida State for the last quarter of a decade and both are endeared icons in the Tallahassee community, both now have their home playing fields named in their honor.

During a 15-minute pre-game presentation before Saturday's 3-1 FSU win over Clemson, Dick Howser stadium officially became Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser stadium. FSU president T.K. Wetherell, athletics director Dave Hart and several members of Martin's family – among others – joined the longtime FSU skipper on the diamond to commemorate the occasion.

"I was tickled to death," Martin said afterward. "I was humbled and overwhelmed when (Wetherell) told me that the field would be named after me. I've been very excited all week. I'm glad that it is over with and I'm glad that my name is on the field. I'm in love with Florida State University. I'm happy to have my name on anything in garnet and gold."

Martin capped the ceremony with a moving oration, addressing the crowd of 4, 017 with a message of thanks to the fans, administration and his family for the "wonderful experience" the last 26 years has afforded him.

In between innings, video tributes from several current and former Seminoles flashed on the jumbotron. Bowden and Gov. Jeb Bush also provided messages before Eduardo Perez, Doug Mientkiewcz and Kevin Cash parlayed their congratulatory messages.

"I went through a lot of flashbacks about the last 40 years during this week," Martin said. "(Director of Baseball Operations) Chip Baker did a great job of keeping all that from me. He made the very special effort of contacting these people to get sound bytes. I was very appreciative. It was great to see people who did so much for Florida State baseball up there."

Players echoed Martin's feeling of awe.

"This is going to go down in history that I got the first win at Mike Martin Field," said lefthander Barret Browning, who turned FSU's longest outing of the season on the mound. "That's something that is very special to me and I'll always remember. "11" has done some great time here and I'm happy we could pull it out on a night like tonight."

"It was a great feeling being a part of something that will be in the record books," said second baseman Tony Thomas, who drove home two runs in the contest.

Ironically, there was a chance that Martin wouldn't see the entirety of his first game on the diamond that now carries his namesake. In the eighth inning, Martin came from the dugout to dispute whether a pitch from Browning hit Clemson's Taylor Harbin. He was corrected by both the plate umpire and his catcher, Aaron Cheesman, and returned to the dugout.

"There was no chance of me getting tossed, that was for sure," he laughed. "I didn't think it hit him but it did. Those are World Series umpires."

After the ordeal fans chanted, "OFF HIS FIELD, OFF HIS FIELD" to the umpire.

OF NOTE: Earlier in the day, longtime FSU softball coach Dr. JoAnne Graf was also honored by having the diamond at the FSU softball complex named in her honor.

Dr. Graf is in her 27th season as head coach of the Seminoles softball team where she too has established the program as one of the finest in the nation. A 2003 inductee into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Dr. Graf has been named ACC Coach of the Year a record six times and is only the third Division I coach to record 1,000 fastpitch wins. She has led the Seminoles to the College World Series seven times and led FSU to back-to-back national titles in slowpitch softball in 1981 and `82.

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