In the city of Saginaw, Michigan, legends are born with purpose and physical gifts as it pertains to athletics. Unfortunately on Sunday prior to 2:30 a.m. outside a Sunoco gas station, Michigan State promising track star Tony Martin was gunned down in an early morning shooting on Sunday in his hometown of Saginaw.
Another 22-year-old victim Ricky Morgan along with Martin succumbed to his gunshot wounds and later died in the hospital. A woman who was 25-years-old was shot in the arm but later released from the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. No arrests have been made since the shooting nor suspects in custody.
Morgan, a loving family man along with Martin both were well known in the city of Saginaw and well respected. If there was a way of putting smiles on the faces of friends, those two have a sense of humor along with laid back personalities. Their unfortunate deaths brought about a proposed solution in the city to prevent social gatherings at gas stations which have been problematic for many in recent years. Local organizations are seeking to patrol gas stations to possibly prevent gun violence Per WNEM.
19-year-old Martin was a decorated versatile athlete who had aspirations of earning his shot at the U.S Olympic Trials in the near future. If that didn’t go as planned, he would someday go on to be a doctoral physical therapist as he stated on Facebook last year in June. According to the Detroit Free Press, Martin’s high school coach DeEddie Sanders gave his statement on his relationship with Martin.
“In shock, really. We were pretty close. He loved track. He was a good guy, never got in trouble.”
Martin had the heart of instilling greatness in his competitors which reminds many of the late and great MSU football legend Charles Rogers. If it wasn’t the charming smile that Martin intimidated his teammates or competitors with, it was his speed that could give you a show you wouldn’t forget along with putting some respect on his name.
Like Rogers, Martin was very similar in nature as he would strive to be the best he could be within his sports journey. During his successful track and field career at Saginaw High School, Martin recorded a state’s long jump record with a leap of 26 feet, 6 inches. He tied the legendary Carl Lewis for the country’s seventh-longest outdoor jump and fell four inches shy of the national record.
During his first season at Michigan state this indoor season he recorded a 60m best of 6.92 seconds and 21.92 in the 200m. With his skills on the track, Martin was an academic success in the classrooms and perceived as a great student by many.
His established resume includes the following: Two-time county MVPs’, five-time state champion, Saginaw long jump record holder and three-time junior Olympic qualifier along with many notable accomplishments. Martin also played football during his career at Saginaw High.
Michigan State Track teammates honored Martin at a vigil on the Spartan campus. The iconic rock read “long live Tony” along with neon green track spikes and red roses placed at the bottom. Martin’s passing is the mirror of what many African Americans face when a special God-given talent and life is cut short.
Fictional characters like Ricky Baker in the 1991 film Boyz n the Hood replicates what Martin and many innocent talents fell victim to. Just when the expectations to make it big out of a city that supports you, an unexpected loss leaves many left with tears and unanswered questions.
Since Martin’s passing, close friends and family are turning those tears of grief into the celebration of Martin’s life at Saginaw High’s Laeding Field. According to a Facebook post, a seven on seven football event is scheduled to take place on Friday. All proceeds will be donated to the funding of Tony Martin’s funeral.
Not only is Martin’s name kept alive to entertain Saginaw natives with a well competitive upcoming football game, T-shirts to commemorate both Morgan and Martin by Westley Ortiz is another stepping stone to ensure the city never forgets them. There is no doubt that Martin will go down as the greatest athlete if not one of the greatest athletes of his time from Saginaw who manifested the “Mamba mentality” and gave it all he had.
The talks of Martin as a future Saginaw County Hall of Fame inductee with his high school career stats should be taken heavily into consideration. He is a legend in many books and will be missed by the city of Saginaw.