Martin “Marty” Kevin Cordova was born on July 10, 1969 in Las Vegas, Nevada, the gambling capital of the world and he grew up there and went on to attend Bishop Gorman High School, a baseball powerhouse in Nevada. The San Diego Padres drafted Cordova as a shortstop out of high school with their 8th round pick in 1987 but Marty was interested in getting an education and attending USC to study sports medicine and the 8th round selection wasn’t enough to sway him to play pro ball. Cordova went on to attend UNLV for a time and then moved on to Orange Coast Community College where he played shortstop. But Marty had an issue that was becoming a serious problem, he had trouble throwing the ball accurately. In 1989 the Minnesota Twins selected Cordova as a third baseman in round 10 and persuaded Marty to sign a pro contract by offering him a $28,000 bonus and set up a $48,000 fund for him to attend college if he did not make it in pro ball. The 1989 Twins draft is considered by some as one of the best drafts ever with two AL ROY winners (Cordova and Chuck Knoblauch) and players like Denny Neagle, Scott Erickson, Mike Trombley, George Tsamis, Dan Mastellar, and Denny Hocking a 52nd round pick who all ended up playing with the Twins.
The big city raised Cordova started his professional baseball in Elizabethton of all places, talk about a culture change. Marty played in just 8 games at 3B in Elizabethton before being moved to the outfield and you will have to listen to the interview to let Marty tell you how and why that position change took place. Marty worked his way up the Twins minor league ladder and in 1994 he was invited to spring training with the Twins but broke his arm and the injury also delayed the start of his season in AAA Salt Lake City. Cordova put up some good numbers for manager Scott Ullger at Salt Lake City hitting .358 with 19 home runs and 17 stolen bases in 103 games but his hopes for a September call-up by the Twins were dashed when the major league season was ended prematurely by a strike on August 10th.
Twins outfielder Shane Mack became a free agent after the 1994 season and not knowing when the strike would end took an offer to play in Japan signing the biggest contract in the history of Japanese baseball at that time to play for the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants on a two-year deal worth about $8.1 million. That move opened the door for Cordova and he jumped in with both feet once the strike was settled. Cordova had a great spring training in 1995 leading the team in almost all offensive categories and before he knew it he was heading to Boston as the Twins starting left fielder. The Twins lost their 1995 season opener at Fenway Park 9-0 and Marty went 0 for 3 with 2 strikeouts but Cordova’s big league career was underway. Cordova got off to a slow start but in the middle of May Cordova got hot and went on a home run tear hitting a home run in 5 consecutive games at the Dome, three against the Angels and two more against the Mariners. The Twins finished last in 1995 with a 56-88 record but Cordova finished his rookie season with 24 home runs, 84 RBI and 20 stolen bases and earned the 1995 American League Rookie of the Year award. Cordova became the fifth Twins player to win the AL ROY award and no Twins has won it since. The following season, 1996 proved to be the best year that Marty would have as a Minnesota Twin as he scored 97 times, knocked in 111 with 16 home runs and hit for a .309 average. Early in the 1997 season Cordova started having an issue with plantar fasciitis and ended up on the DL for 40 games and played in just 103 games. In 1998 Cordova again spent time on the DL, this time with a cervical neck strain and played in 119 games but his power numbers dropped for his third consecutive season. In 1999 Chad Allen forced his way into the line-up and pushed Cordova into a DH role. Although Cordova did not relish being a DH, he did his job and put up some pretty good numbers.
Cordova became a free agent in October of 1999 and signed with the Boston Red Sox but in March of 2000 suffered a broken rib during a spring training game and the Red Sox released him. The very next day Cordova signed on with the Toronto Blue Jays where he played sparingly appearing in only 62 games. Marty again became a free agent after the 2000 season and this time signed on with the Cleveland Indians. Cordova became the starting left fielder for manager Charlie Manual and the Indians went on to win the 2001 AL Central division title and give Cordova his one and only shot at the playoffs. The Indians ended up losing in the ALDS to the Seattle Mariners 3 games to 2. After his nice season in 2001 in Cleveland, the Baltimore Orioles signed Cordova to a 3-year $9.1 deal. Cordova was the O’s starting left fielder in 2002 but suffered a serious elbow injury in 2003 and was limited to only 9 games. Cordova had numerous surgeries including a Tommy John surgery but could never come back to play at the major league level. Cordova did sign a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in January of 2005 but announced his retirement the day spring training started.
After taking some time off after his baseball career ended, Cordova got into commercial real estate and eventually into building high-end luxury homes but that market dried up when the economy tanked and Cordova moved on. Cordova then went into the jewelry business as part owner of Skeletal Metal Surgical Jewelry which manufactures rings, bracelets, pendants and earrings made from reconstructive plates used in orthopedic surgery. In June of 2010 Marty Cordova was named COO at Bentpixels.com. Bent Pixels has proprietary digital rights management technology that helps major brands locate, manage and monetize their content on YouTube.
Cordova is a personal friend of UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) President Dana White and can frequently be found at UFC events. Cordova lives in Las Vegas and still follows the Twins and Orioles in the baseball box scores but his work at Bent Pixels occupies most of his time these days.
The interview with Marty took place on July 3, 2013 and is 42 minutes in length.