Vincent Martelli '83

Baseball - Hall of Fame Class of 2010









Harvard Athletic Achievements
“Clutch-hitter” is an understatement when referring to Vincent Martelli. Indeed, a four-time Major H winner and two-time First Team All-Ivy honoree, Martelli’s  incredible skills in the batter’s box helped carry Harvard to two Ivy League Championships and two berths to the NCAA tournament in 1982 and 1983.

Simply put, Martelli was one of the best hitters Harvard has ever had. At the time of his graduation, he had already cemented his name in the Harvard baseball record books as the all-time leader in doubles (32) and RBI’s (123) and third all-time highest single season batting average (.426). Throughout his collegiate career, Martelli was named to numerous all-league teams, including the All-Greater Boston League in 1981, 1982, and 1983, All-New England in 1983, and the Second Team All-American in 1983. Additionally, in 1983, Martelli received probably the greatest accolade in his career when he was named National Player of the Year by the College Umpires Association.

When he graduated in 1983, it was clear that Harvard had lost a tremendous slugger. His impressive career statistics include 32 doubles, 123 RBI’s, 97 runs, 144 hits, and 15 home runs, thus making him one of the most prolific Harvard hitters of all-time. After a dynamic collegiate career, Martelli was drafted in Round 11 by the Cleveland Indians, bringing his talents to the professional game.

Remembering Harvard Athletics
My Harvard experience was not primarily one of classrooms and professors (oh, well.)  It was certainly an experience of intellectual expansion and discovery – mostly through the discussions over meals, late into the night, and on bus rides with team mates – but I remember it primarily as an emotional experience.  What stand out are the many people that became my friends.  I happened to fall in with a bunch of really good people who had big, open hearts and giving natures.  I have been very fortunate.

I was blessed to have a remarkable group of roommates, including:  Dave Thompson, Lou Varsames, Larry Bouley, Mike Ernst, and Johnny Francis.  Other members of the gang included Jim Garvey, Joe Margolis, Scott McCabe, Steve Ernst, Chuck Columbo, and of course,  John O’Brien and Jeff Goldsby, who are no longer with us.  They are all very humble people, who I consider my best friends.   In fact, just about everyone who knows John Francis considers him to be their best friend.

I have wonderful memories of my friends at Currier House and at several establishments in Harvard Square, but my Harvard experience was predominantly on the “other side of the river”, playing ball and hanging out at Dillon Field House. I spent many hours folding towels (and otherwise pretending that I was working) in the equipment room at Dillon with Chet Stone and Artie Clifford.  I don’t know if I’ve ever had more fun and laughter since.  Chet always seemed to have the best people working for him.  Some of my “Hall of Shame” friends include Phil Haughey Jr., Gerry Leone, Mike Festa, Corey Griffin, Theresa Moore, and of course “The Bossman” John Fenton.   Chet has perhaps been a bigger part of the Harvard experience, for more students, than anyone else.  The reason is that he is a person of great love, who really cares about other people.   I’m as proud to be his friend as I am of any accomplishment.

All the trainers (including Emo), the coaches, and the administrative people at Harvard Athletics were wonderful to be around.  Jack Reardon and Fran Toland in particular.  Bill Cleary is someone who I always wanted to be like.  He, like all of these people, is a person of great integrity – and humor.  I’ll never forget Bill being asked how he planned to celebrate immediately after winning the national championship game, and somewhat bemused saying: “I’ll probably go home and have a cup of tea with my wife.”  For some reason I just loved that response.

Another great influence was George Downey of the Harvard Police.  George came to all of our games, and became very friendly with my parents.  He also watched out for us and protected us from the Cambridge Police!

Seven of my baseball teammates and I went through all 4 years together, and we and our families all became very close:  Brad Bauer, Ed Farrell, Greg Brown, Bill Doyle, Don Allard, Bill Larson, and John Fenton.  There were many other great friends over the 4 years, including Rob Alevizos, Jim Curtain, Joe Wark, and many others.  I love them all. 

There is one teammate in particular whom I want to thank.  Paul Chicarello taught me, inspired me, and encouraged me from the time I was 15 years old and a rival of his in youth baseball.  He was responsible for the single greatest athletic performance that I have ever witnessed.   After being cut from the team twice – in his freshman and sophomore years, basically for being too small, too slow, and having too weak an arm to play college baseball, Chico kicked around on the JV team for 2 years.   In an “only at Harvard” situation, our 1st and 2nd string shortstops were unable to play in a league championship play-off due to an exam schedule conflict.  Having never played a varsity game, and because we had absolutely no other options, Chico started at shortstop.  He proceeded to go 7 for 8 in that doubleheader, he made the All-Tournament team the following weekend in the NCAA regional play-offs, and he went on to become Captain of Harvard Baseball in his senior year.  One of the greatest collegiate sports stories ever – not just at Harvard.

I had great coaches at Harvard.  Jim Stoeckel and Barry Sullivan were excellent coaches and people.  Barry has remained a close friend over the years.  My Head Coach was Alex Nahigian – the Little General.   Alex was a tough guy, who taught me a lot about baseball and about life.
Finally, I can’t think about Harvard without thinking about Joe O’Donnell.  I want to thank Joe for his friendship and guidance over the years.  As a 15 year old kid from Revere, Joe took me under his wing and has not let go since.  Joe epitomizes the best of what Harvard is.  More than anything, he is a really good person who cares about people and tries to help them whenever he can.  I would not have gone to Harvard had it not been for Joe, so this honor is for him too. 

Thank you to the Varsity Club for this honor, and to all of my Harvard friends for making me the luckiest person in the world.