BRADENTON, Fla. -- Russell Martin became the latest member of the Pirates family to experience one of the spoils of a 94-win season that ends in the playoffs: Having your uniform -- or even your name -- immortalized by one of your stepping stones to the Majors.
Martin's No. 12 has been retired by Chipola College, located in Marianna, Fla., about 280 miles northwest of Bradenton. Martin stopped off for the Feb. 8 ceremony on his way to Pirate City.
He became the second Pirates player to receive that honor within the past few weeks. Brandon Cumpton's uniform -- also No. 12 -- was retired by Greenbrier (Ga.) High School in late January. Manager Clint Hurdle's alma mater Merritt High School rededicated its baseball field in his name.
Hurdle's reaction to that honor: "It just means you're getting older."
Sure enough, Martin turned 31 on Saturday.
"It was weird," Martin said of the uniform retirement. "Stuff like that usually happens after you finish playing. But it was definitely special -- especially since that part of my life shaped my mentality. Coach [Jeff Johnson] was tough -- no excuses. It made everything else after that easier."
One of Martin's 2000-01 Chipola teammates, who joined him in numerous photos chronicling the school's annual alumni weekend? Jose Bautista.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.