Andy Marte, a slugging third baseman who was a key member of the Buffalo Bisons in 2006 and 2007 and prompted summers of good feelings downtown with his walk-to-the-plate music, was killed Sunday in traffic accident in his native Dominican Republic according to multiple media reports.
Marte, who last played for Arizona in 2014 before heading to Korea, was 33. He was playing in the Dominican winter league. Marte's death apparently came a few hours before Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was also killed in a crash in the Dominican. Ventura was just 25.
Although he hit 31 home runs in his two seasons for the Bisons, the jovial Marte is best remembered here for "Chacarron Macarron", a song by the Panamanian group El Mudo that was played each time he came to bat in then-Dunn Tire Park.
Buffalo fans quickly took to the bizarre tune and hundreds would wave their arms wildly each time Marte came to the plate. Even now, a decade later, the song sometimes gets chosen by a Latin player as walkup music and some fans still remember to react.
Marte was a hot Atlanta prospect who was traded to Boston during the winter of 2005. A month later, he was sent to Cleveland along with pitcher Guillermo Mota and Kelly Shoppach in exchange for three former Bisons: outfielder Coco Crisp, catcher Josh Bard and pitcher David Riske.
Marte batted .261 with 15 homers and 46 RBIs in 96 games for the Bisons in 2006. He exploded in June with 10 homers, was named Topps International League player of the month and tied the franchise record with home runs in five straight games. Marte was named to the Triple-A All-Star Game in Toledo as a reserve and won the Home Run Derby with 29 longballs over two rounds.
In 2007, when Buffalo was eliminated from the playoffs on the second-last day of the season, Marte batted .267 with 16 homers and 60 RBIs. He was a two-time IL Player of the Week, tied with Ryan Mulhern for the team lead in home runs and was third in RBIs.
Marte played 277 games with Cleveland from 2006-2010 and also had brief stints with Atlanta and Arizona. He hit .218 with 21 homers and 99 RBIs in his big-league career.
— Buffalo Bisons (@BuffaloBisons) January 22, 2017
Sad to learn of Andy Marte's death this morning. He was a genuine person who always greeted you with a warm smile.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) January 22, 2017