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Saturday, August 21, 2021

Marty Willis set his sights on pro baseball; Got there, saw five seasons, made AA

Marty Willis set his sights on pro baseball early on. His family hoped he'd work on a backup plan, too, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote.

He eventually did turn pro, with his family's support, but also with an agreement, Willis father told The Post-Dispatch in 1989.

"I told Marty that if he would give 100 percent effort and dedication, I would try to support him financially and as his advisor," Willis' father Carl told The Post-Dispatch

Willis' effort and dedication ultimately took him to five pro seasons. He topped out at AA.

Willis' career began in 1988, signed by the Tigers as an undrafted free agent out of East Central College in Missouri. 

Willis started with the Tigers in the rookie Arizona League, loaned to the Brewers. He went 3-2, with a 4.33 ERA over 20 outings, two starts. He also saved eight games.

He moved to single-A Lakeland for 1989. In 29 outings, three starts, he went 5-5, with a 3.39 ERA. He returned to Lakeland, at high-A, for 1990. In another 34 outings, seven starts, he went 10-6, with a 2.65 ERA. He picked up a relief win in an April game.

Willis arrived at AA London for 1991 and turned starter. He saw 31 games, starting 23. He went 5-12, with a 3.64 ERA.

He then returned to London for 1992. That June, he picked up a win after a rough stretch, The Hartford Courant wrote.

"I wasn't concentrating on anything but my mechanics," Willis told The Courant. "I've been struggling a little bit. So I've been working on my mechanics."

Willis got into 27 games, starting 12. He went 1-5, with a 5.99 ERA to end his career.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,722
Made the Majors:1,262-33.9%
Never Made Majors:2,460-66.1%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:522
10+ Seasons in the Minors:309

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