Prospect League

Martin stepping down as Gems manager; first child due in May

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 24, 2015 12:01 am

QUINCY -- Chris Martin has coached the Quincy Gems since the 2006 season and has spent every summer on a baseball diamond as a player or coach since he was 10 or 11 years old.

The summer of 2016, however, will be spent in a new role.

Martin announced Monday he won't be the manager of the Gems, who play in the Prospect League, a collegiate league with teams in 12 cities. He plans to be home with his wife, Kate, and their first child who is due in May.

"If it wasn't for (the baby), I might still be doing it," Martin said. "If I was 26 and not 37, I might still be doing it. We've been together for eight years, and Kate gets me for about six months out of the year.

"It's time to start another chapter of our life."

Martin finished with 286 victories in his Prospect League career. He guided the Gems to the Prospect League playoffs five times in seven years, and the Gems won three championships. Last year's team finished with a 27-33 record.

Martin said he plans to keep his job as the baseball coach at Quincy Notre Dame. He is a STAR Guide at Baldwin Intermediate School.

He says he'll miss the relationships with the players, but he's ready for his first "summer vacation."

"I've already gotten a lot of phone calls and e-mails and text messages from ex-players," Martin said. "But this is going to work out good. Kate and I will get to spend the whole summer together, and we get to figure out what we have to do to be good at this parenting thing."

Martin and his father, Terry, were part of the Gems BB3, LLC, ownership group, along with Julie and Jimmie Louthan, that bought the franchise in 2014 from the Quincy Civic Authority to keep the Gems in Quincy. Terry Martin became team president, and Chris took over as general manager and also coached the team last year.

Now, Jimmie Louthan becomes the team president and general manager, and he's already searching for an assistant general manager and a coach. Terry Martin says he's "stepping back" but will remain involved with the team in a limited role, such as helping recruit host families and working with corporate sponsors.

"Honestly, I feel this was the plan the whole time," Louthan said. "Terry wanted to make sure Gems baseball stayed in Quincy. It never was his intention to run the team for the rest of his life. It's not like both of them aren't going to be a phone call away or across the dinner table away. There's zero hard feelings in any of this."

Louthan also owns and operates JJ's Catering, which will start its 12th year in January.

Terry Martin said his decision to take a reduced role with the team had little to do with money.

"We've never made a dime off the Gems, and we probably never will," he said. "But I think the Gems have a bright future, and if the team does make money, to split it three ways makes is pretty tough.

"I'll still be at the ballpark and even travel with them. I'm still an owner, but I'm just not going to put any more money into it. I'll still be involved, just not as involved. I just don't think there can be three hands in there. We need to give Jimmie an opportunity, and he said he would be more than willing to do it. Now it's all under one umbrella."

Rick Fraire is expected to return as an assistant coach again this summer. He coaches baseball at Fabens (Texas) High School.

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