When the Major League Baseball season ends, Martin Perez returns to his roots in Guanare, a city of almost 200,000 people located near the Andes foothills in Venezuela. The region is noted for its agriculture and livestock, and Perez finds a sense of peace and tranquility while tending to the horses, the cows and the land on his Guanare ranch.
Perez, intent on giving back to the community, envisions the ranch as a long-term source of employment opportunities for some of the locals. In his spare time, he is also committed to dispensing hope.
As a 10-year major-league veteran and 2022 All-Star pitcher for the Texas Rangers, Perez is aware of his stature as a local icon and role model. He sponsors several youth teams in the area and provides gloves, bats and balls for aspiring ballplayers in need. The equipment comes with a side order of wisdom and professional counsel.
“I’ll share my experiences with the kids who want to play baseball and tell them what you need to do to be part of professional baseball,’’ Perez says. “I don’t want them to think, 'It’s impossible to get to where Martin is right now.’ Nothing is impossible. You just have to have that in your head and work hard every day and try to be better, and you're going to make it.’’
Perez’s internal compass and charitable sentiments have guided him through career stops in Texas, Minnesota, Boston and a second stint with the Rangers. Wherever he pitches, the road invariably leads back to his birthplace and lifelong home in Venezuela.
“I am who I am because I never forget where I’ve come from,’’ he says. “I’ll always have the people who watch me go play baseball. I think those people made me strong, and I’ll always have them on my mind and in my heart.’’