Noelia Marte, the wife of baseball player Starling Marte, died of a heart attack Monday while awaiting surgery, the MLB veteran revealed. The Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder made the announcement on social media.
The disclosure marks yet another tragedy in the young star’s life.
Starling Marte is an underappreciated MLB player
A manager writing Starling Marte’s name on the lineup card day after day knows exactly what to expect because of rock-solid consistency in his numbers from season to season.
Marte arrived in Major League Baseball in 2012 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, easing into the transition from the minors with five home runs and a .257 batting average in 47 games. He followed with 12 homers and a .280 average in his first full season and took off from there.
Marte’s batting lines the past two seasons show the dependability of his production as he’s continued to cut down on strikeouts while also making the adjustment on defense from left field to full-time duties in center field.
He hit .277 with 20 homers and 72 RBIs as a 29-year-old and followed up last season with a .295 average, 23 homers, and 82 RBIs for the Pirates, who finished last in the National League Central Division.
In the field, Marte earned Gold Gloves in 2015 and ’16 after rolling up a combined 33 assists. The one black mark on the multi-talented Marte’s resume is an 80-game suspension in 2017 following a positive test result for steroids.
Still, he offers good value at a scheduled $11.5 million salary for the 2020 season that has been put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic — but he’ll be starting a new chapter in his career once the season commences.
A fresh start in Arizona remains on hold after wife’s death
The Pittsburgh Pirates, continuing another rebuild, traded Starling Marte and cash in January for minor-league prospects Brennan Malone and Liover Peguero from the Arizona Diamondbacks, who dipped into their strong farm system in a bid to edge closer to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
The Diamondbacks get an outfielder who is coming off career highs in homers, RBIs, slugging percentage, and OPS. Sadly, they are also now getting a player who is dealing with a shocking tragedy.
Marte went on Instagram on Monday night to disclose that his wife Noelia had died of a heart attack:
“Today I go through the great pain of making public the unfortunate death of my wife Noelia, due to a heart attack. It is a moment of indescribable pain. On behalf of my family, I am grateful for the expressions of esteem and solidarity in this difficult time.”
Noelia Marte was in a hospital being treated for a broken ankle and was awaiting surgery when she died, MLB.com reported.
The couple, natives of the Dominican Republic, has three young children: sons Starling Jr. and Smerling, and daughter Tiana.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Noelia Marte,” the Diamondbacks said in a statement. “Starling and his family are part of the D-backs’ family and we will do all we can to support him and their children during this incredibly difficult time.”
The Pirates also issued a statement expressing condolences.
Starling Marte has overcome adversity before
Having to overcome the death of his wife and the mother of his three children is going to be an almost unimaginable challenge for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Starling Marte.
The task is further complicated by the uncertainty of when baseball will re-start spring training. That could come in as little as two weeks, although MLB executives and the players are still trying to agree on how to proceed toward a regular season that might consist of less than half of the traditional 162-game schedule.
Marte has shown resiliency before. He was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. His mother died when he was 10 years old, and he was raised by his grandmother.
The Pirates spotted Marte as a teen and signed him at the age of 18. He worked his way through the farm system and got the call to the majors late in the 2012 season. The first pitch he saw in a Pirates uniform was an 86 mph offering from Dallas Keuchel that Marte pounded for a home run.
Getting the promotion to the majors was an exciting moment. The first call he made was to his grandmother.
“She was pretty proud. She was crying,” Marte said.