For more than 35 years, Mike Martin has mentored aspiring local baseball players through the Las Vegas Baseball Academy.
A native of Oregon, Martin was a top baseball prospect coming out of high school. The San Diego Padres drafted him in the 1st round of the 1978 Winter Draft out of Linn-Benton Junior College. He was in the Padres organization until 1984, which provided him with the opportunity to play for the Las Vegas Stars in 1983.
After spending more than six years in the Padres organization, he became a minor league free agent and signed with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1985. The Brewers traded him to the Chicago Cubs in the winter of 1985, and on August 15, 1986 he got the call. He took the field as a major leaguer.
During his stint with the Las Vegas Stars, Martin and former Star's player Jerry DeSimone started the LVBA. He also assisted DeSimone with the LVBA Christmas Baseball Camp, which became a showcase for players from around the country. Many Major League scouts and players, including Greg and Mike Maddux, Tony Gwynn, Roger Clemens and Marty Barrett, to name a few, and college coaches participated in the camp as instructors.
The LVBA was designed to teach baseball fundamentals and the mental part of the game to assist young players in further developing their skills. LVBA just completed its 35th annual Christmas camp in 2018.
Martin was instrumental in starting the Junior Olympic High School team for players 16 and under. This team competes every June in Phoenix. This event provides the players with the experience playing in front of national scouts and college coaches.
In addition, Martin helped coach the Senior Scout team for the St. Louis Cardinals with Manny Guerra (scout for the St. Louis Cardinals) and coach Gary White. Every fall, the team is selected from the area high schools in Las Vegas and they participate in a tournament in Phoenix. This has become another recruitment opportunity for these players to be seen by Major League scouts and college coaches from all over the nation.
The importance of the LVBA can't be understated. In addition to the competitive opportunities playing in tournaments, 80% of the players that go through the LVBA organization make their high school teams. Many of these players have gone on to find success in college and professional baseball.
The LVBA also encourages players on the importance of giving back to their community. As an organization, the group has volunteered its services for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission and the Miracle League. The families also donate bicycles and deliver them to the KLUC holiday bike drive.
Martin and his wife, Kris, have two children: Casey and Kylee.
Born: December 03, 1958
Claim to Fame: As the owner and president of the Las Vegas Baseball Academy, Martin has mentored developing players in Las Vegas for more than 35 years.