'El Presidente' Dennis Martinez launches GoFundMe campaign for doctors, nurses in his native Nicaragua

'El Presidente' Dennis Martinez launches GoFundMe campaign for doctors, nurses in his native Nicaragua
The famed former pitching ace, one of the 23 pitchers to throw a perfect game in MLB history, believes front line health workers in Nicaragua need urgent support.

Nicaraguan baseball legend Dennis Martinez -- who has a national baseball stadium named after him -- believes that there is an urgent need for protective gear for front-line health workers in his native Nicaragua.

Martinez has joined the Nicaraguan-American Medical Association and Abuelas-Nicaraguenses (Nicaraguan Grandmothers) to establish a GoFundMe campaign to raise $50,000 USD for masks and gowns for doctors and nurses. Everybody can contribute.

“It’s important for those people to stay healthy so that they can prevent the spread of the disease,” said Martinez in an interview with the Ottawa Sun.

Martinez was born in Granada in 1954. He was the last of seven children and was helping his parents on a farm when he agreed in 1973 to a $3,000 signing bonus with the Baltimore Orioles. He became the first Nicaraguan to appear in a Major League Baseball (MLB) game when he made his debut, and collected his first win on 14 September 1976, against the Detroit Tigers.

Martinez was an ace starting pitcher. He was nicknamed El Presidente. He spent his better years (1986-1993) with the Montreal Expos. He pitched a perfect game for the Expos on 28 July 1991 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It was the 13th perfect game in the MLB history, and the first by a Latin American pitcher. Only 10 more pitchers have since achieved the milestone, the last one being Felix Hernandez (Seattle Mariners vs Tampa Bay Rays) from Venezuela on 15 August 2012.

Considered by many as one of the top Latin American pitchers of all–time, Martinez retired after the 1998 season. He earned 245 career wins and eight saves, striking out 2,149 batters over 3,999.2 innings pitched. His career earned run average is 3.70.

While he never suited up for the Nicaraguan National Team, Martinez was part of Nicaragua's coaching staff at the 2011 IBAF Baseball World Cup.