HOUSTON -- They lined up standing shoulder to shoulder in unity along the foul lines and behind the pitcher's mound. Uniform-clad Houston police officers rallied by the dozens to show support for the son of one of their fallen brothers.
Tyler Martin, the youngest son of Houston police officer Richard Martin, threw out an emotional ceremonial first pitch prior to Monday's 5-2 win by the Astros over the Orioles at Minute Maid Park. The 11-year-old, a starting pitcher for his Little League team in Cy-Fair in northwest Houston, fittingly threw a strike that would have made his father proud.
Tyler had a huge smile on his face as Astros All-Star and batting champion Jose Altuve, who caught the pitch, talked to him, and outfielder George Springer added some words of encouragement. Astros officials said the two star players both asked to participate in the pitch.
Richard Martin was killed May 18 while putting down spike strips during a police chase. At his funeral a few days later, where hundreds of police officers gathered, Tyler didn't have the voice to speak, but he made his father a promise that was read aloud, according to news reports.
"I will be a good kid and adult. I will follow my dreams and play hard in the Major Leagues, then I will follow in your footsteps in being a police officer."
Richard Martin was a four-year HPD veteran who left a job in a warehouse to live out his dream of becoming a peace officer. With the support of Houston police and the Astros, young Tyler learned Monday his dreams are out there, too.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.