At the previous booth, I looked up and saw some players’ nicknames on their MLB page. Some were self-explanatory while others, to me, didn’t make sense at the time. My curiosity aroused when I went to see a few players to ask them how this nickname was born. Once I got to Brett Martin and asked his nickname, Joey Seaves, with the backstory behind it, I was moved.
Joey Seaves portrays George “Joey” Seaver, a pitching coach Brett originally worked with when Martin was a freshman in high school. At the same time, Seaver was a pitching coach at Walters State Junior College in Morristown, Tennessee. “He’s someone who helped me a lot as a young pitcher,” Martin told me. “[He was] someone I looked up to who was the nicest human being in the world. He was the best. Then, when Brett went to Walters State, Seaver took a job with the Rangers as a pitching coach for the ACL Rangers (rookie ball); consequently, the excitement of working with Joey Seaver at Walters State for Brett Martin waned as Seaver moved on.
However, things happen for a reason. Five months after Joey Seaver took over as Rangers rookie pitching coach, Rangers drafted Brett Martin in the fourth round (2014). Martin went to the rookie ball and worked with Joey Seaver again, alone and seen.
After the 2015 season, Seaver went on to coach the Spokane Indians for two seasons and the Bristol Pirates in the 2018 season. Brett spoke about when in the 2018 offseason he had a tough season. He finished 2018 with a 7.28 ERA in Double-A Frisco. “I said [Seaver] I was like we should go back to basics [and] get back to what I was doing,” Brett said. So they met and played catch.
Brett said when they met in the 2018 offseason, it was the first time they had spoken in a long time. “We talked for about two and a half hours, not once about baseball. Then we started playing catch and talking about baseball.
A week later (December 2018), Joey Seaver died of a heart attack. “I was about to text him a few days after he passed. In my head, I thought I’d text him and say hey, when do you want to meet again, and then I found out he was dead. Fast forward to August 2019, when the Rangers were in Chicago for Players Weekend, Brett Martin’s nickname was “Joey Seaves” on the back of his jersey. “I wanted to do something for [Joey Seaver]”, said Martin. “[I] put that on the back of the jersey, and his wife and son could come to the game in Chicago and enjoy it. Martin pitched this Sunday and threw an inning and a third scoreless over the weekend, allowing two hits and striking out two. He inherited two runners in the seventh and forced Yoan Moncada out to end another White Sox goal threat. Brett says he still stays in touch with the Seaver family. “I know she’ll follow me, check on me, [and] see how I am. I’ll ask her how she’s doing.
Brett Martin made his major league debut for Rangers the following season. He pitched a scoreless ninth inning on April 19 against the Houston Astros. “One thing he always told me was to be Brett Martin. Keep it simple. In his four seasons with Rangers, Brett Martin pitched 155 innings with a 3.77 ERA in 151 games which he played in. Martin was first in appearances in 2021 and Rangers’ current leading bowler in most games has appeared this season. Brett was second at the club in appearances behind Jose Leclerc in 2019. Brett Martin continues to be the go-to southpaw of the Rangers bullpen.
Joey Seaver’s teachings, influence and contributions will always remain true to Brett Martin. “I think, and I believe that if [Joey Seaver] didn’t introduce me to all these things, at a young age, pitching and the knowledge he was able to give so early [in] my life, [and] helped me, and it worked for him, I don’t think I would be here.