Dennis Martinez National Stadium
The Dennis Martinez National Stadium has seen political struggle, fought against natural disasters and has united a nation in overwhelming victory at baseball games, football games, concerts and events. It was not always known as the Dennis Martinez National Stadium, but it has always brought people together, to forget about their daily struggles and loose themselves in their favorite sport for an hour or two. Today, its name stands as a reminder of one of the greatest baseball players in the history of Nicaragua.
The multi-use stadium was constructed as the national stadium for Nicaragua, in Managua, in the year 1948. It was named El Estadio Nacional. On entering the stadium, visitors are greeted by a hall of fame that showcases the trophies, medals and photos that contributed to the sporting heritage of the country and which honors the noteworthy sportsmen who have made Nicaragua proud. In addition to the hall of fame, the stadium also has a gym for sportsmen to train in, and it has a crowd capacity of just over thirty thousand.
In 1972, a devastating earthquake hit Managua and destroyed most of the city; the stadium was no exception. It was rebuilt and renamed Anastasio Somoza Garcia stadium. When the Sandinistas took over control of country, the stadium was once again subjected to a name change, this time to honor the man who killed Garcia, and was named the Rigoberto Lopez Perez stadium. But it’s most deserving name, and hopefully its last, is the Dennis Martinez National Stadium.
Dennis Martinez retired from baseball in 1998, after enjoying twenty-three successful years in the major leagues. Martinez, originally from Granada, played for the Orioles for eleven seasons. He stayed with the Montreal Expos for seven seasons and then went to over to Cleveland for three. He briefly landed with the Seattle Mariners, before playing for Montreal and ending his career with Atlanta, as a Latin American with the most victories and only the seventh pitcher to have won a hundred games in the National Leagues and the American Leagues. Martinez is also the first Nicaraguan player to make it to the major leagues.
For locals and visitors alike, the Dennis Martinez National Stadium is monument to the talent and sportsmanship in Nicaragua, a venue of entertainment, excitement and thrilling sporting games and it is home to the local Managua league baseball team.