Although he played with the University of South Carolina baseball team for only one season, former pitcher Randy Martz made a lasting impression in Gamecocks athletics history.
That lasting impression led to Martz being elected into the 2017 South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame class. He was honored at the Hall of Fame dinner at Williams-Brice Stadium on Thursday along with fellow inductees Bill Currier, Jamar Nesbit, Eric Norwood, Larry Davis, Tricia Popowski, Jennifer (Van Assen) Brunelli and Chuck Allen.
“This is a great honor,” Martz said. “Carolina has been special to me. To get this honor is a dream come true.”
As a starter pitcher for the Gamecocks in 1977, Martz helped lead the team under coach June Raines to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. That same season, he finished 14-0, earning first-team All-America honors and the Most Valuable College Player award.
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While Martz said the College World Series was one of his favorite experiences during his time as a Gamecock, nothing stood out more to him than beating Clemson.
“They were 26-0, and I beat them 2-1,” Martz said. “I remember Bill Wilhelm came out. It started raining. He goes, ‘Do you want to come out of the game?’ I said, ‘You ain’t taking that ball from me, buddy.’ I finished it off and ended their 26-game win streak.”
For his lone year as a Gamecock, Martz was roommates with Currier, who also was inducted into the 2017 Hall of Fame class as a standout defensive back and was drafted in the ninth round of the 1977 NFL draft.
“I always wondered about that. I go ‘Man, this must be the first time in the history of South Carolina that two roommates are actually going into the Hall of Fame the same day,” Martz said. “That was a special moment because he was really good. We got along well. He was a good teammate, a good person and I enjoyed being around him.”
Similar to Currier, the then 21-year-old Martz was drafted 12th overall by the Chicago Cubs in 1977 and made his Major League debut in 1980. He spent three seasons with the Cubs and finished his career with the White Sox in 1983, averaging a 3.78 ERA over 68 games (45 starts).
While he had success in the big leagues, Martz said he was caught off guard when he was told he had been elected into the South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame.
“Actually, I was at a bar in Florida, which was kind of odd,” Martz said. “I was down there looking at houses in Florida. They called me, and I was kind of caught off guard. They just talked to me and said ‘It was kind of odd you are in the state Hall of Fame and not the university Hall of Fame.’ I said, ‘I’m glad to be in it.’ ”