Jason Martin ’07, inaugural inductee to Harker’s Athletic Hall of Fame on Oct. 5, 2018, had a great career at Harker, excelling in baseball and football. He began at Harker in junior kindergarten and started playing baseball in Quito Little League, Campbell Little League and, eventually, San Jose Pacific Pony Baseball.
While playing baseball at Harker, Martin was named to the Varsity Second All-League Team in his freshman year and to the First Team for the next three years. He was runner up his junior year for CCS MVP, hitting .629 for the year. Martin played varsity football for three years and, in the 2006 homecoming game, became the only player in Harker history to run for a touchdown, throw for a touchdown and catch a touchdown in the same game.
Martin noted a number of coaches at Harker have had a huge impact on his life. Coach K (Karriem Stinson) was his middle school flag football and junior varsity football coach. Martin said that Stinson instilled toughness and a work ethic in him at a young age, and those traits have been at the foundation of his character ever since. C.J. Cali was Martin’s middle school P.E. coach and is still a life mentor for him, and example of how Harker really is K through life, Martin said. Dan Molin has always followed and supported Martin’s baseball career, and he helped Martin get his first job at Harker after college. Molin has constantly been a resource for Martin in life after Harker as well.
James Brack, head coach during Martin’s junior year at Harker, was instrumental in directing him to San Jose State University, Martin noted in an interview for the Spartan’s website. “He was a really good coach. He ended up coming to San Jose State as a volunteer. He told Coach Piraro about me, so I came out for one of the camps. I played a little shortstop, second base, outfield, just had them take a look at me. I guess they liked what they saw. They offered me a recruited walk-on spot.” He ended up breaking a number of SJSU records.
In 2008, his freshman year at SJSU, Martin was noted in the online recap of the San Jose State University baseball team vs. Spartan Alumni game, on Nov. 2: “Offensively, sophomore center fielder Jason Martin reached base in all five of his plate appearances from the lead off position, finishing 2-for-3 with two hit-by-pitches, his trademark. He also reached [base] on one of six alumni errors, in the third inning. The San Jose native scored three times and drove in a pair. His final hit was a two-run triple in the big eighth inning, with Martin coming all the way around to score on a throwing miscue.”
In January 2009, Martin was recognized at the annual Santa Clara County Hot Stove Banquet for his standout performance on the diamond. He was named a winner of the annual Loyd Christopher Award, given to a single member of the San Jose State, Stanford and Santa Clara University baseball programs. Martin also earned a $500 scholarship for being nominated to receive the award.
In April 2010, Martin was written up in the San Jose Mercury News by Dennis Knight in his Movin’ On Up column, where he noted, “The former Harker standout started his career as a walk-on, but he has developed into the Spartans’ top offensive player as a junior. In the past four games, the outfielder went seven for 16 with a double, a home run and four RBIs. Batting third in his most recent games, Martin leads the Spartans with a .403 batting average. He has 56 hits, 23 runs, eight doubles, a triple, one home run, 19 RBIs and five stolen bases. He has a .462 on-base percentage.”
In May 2010, Martin was one of two players on the SJSU baseball team to land a spot on the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA)/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII Baseball First Team for his 3.34 GPA. He was one of only five student athletes in the Western Athletic Conference to be honored for his achievements both in the classroom and on the diamond. At this point, Martin had a college career batting average of .348, ranking 12th all-time in the Spartan baseball record book, despite having broken his hand earlier in the season.
Martin spent his junior year summer playing for the Chatham Anglers in the Cape Cod league, a league known for the high level of summer baseball for college players.
In February 2011, collegesplits.com, a college athletics analysis website, named Martin a preseason defensive All-American and one of the players who will “provide the most value in 2011” with his glove. In April 2011, Martin was again noted in the San Jose Mercury News’ Movin’ On Up column for having broken the first of many records as a member of the San Jose State University baseball team. His 227 hits put him in the record books.
Prior to graduation in 2012, Martin was recognized for his contributions to the San Jose State University baseball team at its annual Senior Day. He is one of the most successful players in SJSU’s history and has been recognized many times for both his on-field prowess and his dedication to his studies. Martin finished as the Spartan’s all-time leader in hits (227), runs scored (174), games played (236), at-bat appearances (832) and hit by pitches (65). Martin, who majored in psychology and minored in kinesiology, graduated as a three-time San Jose State Scholar-Athlete and two time Academic All-Western Athletic Conference athlete, a testament to his efforts in the classroom.
Martin is the first player out of Harker to play Division I baseball. Following graduation, he headed out to try his hand at semi pro ball. Martin played with the Abilene Prairie Dogs in the United League for a year and the Amarillo Sox Baseball Club in the American League for just over three years, including a 100-game season with all the rigors of bus rides lasting up to 16 hours through six states in about 100 days. During the same period, he coached at Clovis West Baseball in Fresno where he led a group of 20 players and three coaches in developing their baseball and real-world skills.
Fast forward to December 2016, when Martin bought Sal’s Pizza in Campbell, renamed it Lefty’s: A Taste of Boston in honor of his grandfather, and started sponsoring Little League teams. In early 2018, Martin’s fellow graduates from the Class of 2007 packed his restaurant to celebrate their 10-year reunion. Faculty members Bradley Stoll and Dan Molin, and Martin’s father, Harker chef Steve Martin, joined the fun while ’07’s very own DJ Anton Sepetov provided the musical ambience for the evening’s festivities. Lefty’s remains a family business, but Martin is now working for Cushman & Wakefield on site at LinkedIn as a MAC coordinator (Moves, Adds, Changes), putting even more of his education to work.
Martin began his career with a mindset to work hard and earn his spot on the roster every day. He said he learned his work-hard mentality from his parents and that he plays 100 percent whenever he’s on the field. In an interview with the SJSU newspaper, Martin said, “In my mind that is how the game should be played … with maximum effort. If I come home from practice and I’m not really that tired, it bothers me. If I am spending time out there, practicing or playing in a game, I want to get something done.” It is this mentality that enabled Martin to achieve so much while playing for the Spartans and that led Harker to make him an inaugural member of the Harker Athletic Hall of Fame.