To most of his friends, he is cheerfully greeted as "Moose," a nickname that was attached to him way back in the fast-pitch softball days. About a zillion years ago. To most of his buddies in Trinidad, he is labeled, simply, as the" Teddy Bear."
His real name is Theodore Earnest Martinez, born in Suffield, Colorado, a small community five miles north of Trinidad. Suffield was once a thriving coal-mining town located one mile from a major railroad exchange near Bowen, yet another small but thriving coal mining camp. He is one of four brothers; Frank, Paul, and David, and one sister, Gloria.
The Martinez clan relocated to Sopris in 1935 and remained there until 1942. For the little Teddy Bear, it was a splendid seven years. "Dad got a job with Jack Daldosso," explained Teddy. "The Colorado Fuel & Iron Company lost their lease to the coal mines, then Daldosso took it over. Dad started working for him."
Teddy resided in old Sopris from age seven through his early teens. "I just loved Sopris," said Ted. "I thought it was one of the nicest camps I've ever been in. It was a nice place for a young kid like me to be growing up. We had a "shinny" team. It was a game like ice hockey. Sam Incitti and Tony Cambruzzi will tell you all about that. I started going to school at the Lincoln School. We lived in Jerryville right across the street from Cunico's grocery."
The Martinez family moved from Sopris to 431 West Second Street in Trinidad in 1942. The "Teddy Bear" graduated from Trinidad High School in 1945, served as a third class petty officer in the Navy for three years, then graduated from Trinidad State Junior College in 1950. He transferred to Southern Colorado State College in Pueblo, Colorado, lacking only eight semester hours to complete his Bachelor of Arts degree. He also found employment at the Pueblo Army Depot while attending school.
In 1955, he returned to Trinidad and found a job as a truck driver for Sawaya Wholesale where he labored until 1960. Other employment experiences included work with the Community Action Program under the federal Office of Economic Opportunity, a war on poverty program initiated by President John F. Kennedy. Here Martinez plugged away as an assistant neighborhood coordinator and worked his way up to executive director. President Nixon's administration promptly cut this program in 1974. In the interim, he married Carol Garcia. The newlyweds moved into their new home at 207 South Oak where they reside to this very day.
Later, he would work in the coal mines in Morley, and the Allen Mine, then as a safety engineer with the National Energy Corporation. With the NEC, he was a safety inspector for strip mines. As an inspector, he conducted classes, tested samples of gas and coal dust, and essentially did anything that would benefit the safety of the coal miners. His last job was Civil Defense director for Las Animas County, a position he held until his retirement.
The "Moose" has had memorable experiences in the world of sports, too. He played at the guard position in football for the Trinidad High School Miners. It is notable that during his high school football years he weighed in at a hefty one-hundred thirty eight pounds and stood a diminutive five feet six inches in height. One season, he remembered, the Miners played Pueblo Central to a 0-0 tie, then defeated Salida in a big game in Salida. Central won the league championship that year.
Jack Nicols, a highly controversial personality to say the least, coached Teddy and his cohort Miners. "Boy was he mean," explained Martinez. "He demanded discipline and he got it." Also on the team were Tom Benich, Stan Lloyd, lifetime buddy Manuel Lujan, Ben Fernandez, Bert Gonzales, and Bob Hainlen. The athletic Hainlen eventually played football at the professional level. He was signed as a place-kicker for the old Washington Redskins.
The "Teddy Bear" also dabbled with basketball, baseball, and softball. And for the last thirty plus years, he has played a lot of golf at the Trinidad Municipal Golf Course.
He also served as an umpire in baseball. His most eventful moment as an umpire was in a game between Mesa College and Trinidad State. The Trinidad State Jr. College Trojans, coached by Ron Wilson, lost the contest 1-0.
In basketball, "Moose" saw limited participation because of his small size, but he saw considerable action at left field in baseball. "I like baseball the best," said Martinez. "And one time I helped coach a girl's slow-pitch softball team.
"I've always loved sports. I really enjoyed it. It keeps the mind occupied. There's nothing better than sports for knowing where the kids are. I mention that as a father as well as a sports enthusiast. I think the city's actions of curtailing activities at the Community Center are going to hurt the kids. I hope the City Council will reassess their position on this matter."
Current sports activities are directed specifically at golf. Martinez has been a member of Trinidad Golf Association for the past two decades.
"I'm a hacker, but I enjoy every minute of it (golf)," said Martinez. "And we have one of the best golf courses in the state.
"Golf to me is enjoyable and relaxing. It's a one-man sport, and no that I'm getting older I can still enjoy it. It's a sport that I can participate in until the day I die. I just love to play with 'little' brother Frank to harass him. One time e got in a big argument on the number eighteen green over a quarter bet. Doc Jordan and Gil Maes witnessed it, and they thought we were doing to get into fisticuffs over it. And, as usual, 'little' brother was right."
The "Teddy Bear" married the former Caroline Garcia in 1952. They reared three boys and two girls. Two boys remain at home. Ron, a law enforcement major at TSJC, and Steven, a seventh grader at Trinidad Junior High School.
"Both of those guys have kept Carol and I young," concluded the irrepressible Martinez.
Or is it Mr. "Moose?"
Or maybe just a plain old "Teddy Bear."