Welcome Jon de Marte: Buffalo’s Newest Franchise Player
Professional baseball is finally here this summer despite fan-less stadiums and teams dealing with Covid outbreaks. Still, for those who love the National Pastime, watching the big leaguers play is a joy.
Well, Jewish Buffalo has its own big leaguer in town, pitcher Jonathan (Jon) de Marte of the Israeli National Baseball Team. Jon moved to Buffalo this month to be closer to his girlfriend Emily Barber, an Account & Operations Manager at HiOperator, and is working and training at Hot Corner Athletics in Getzville.
Jon’s professional baseball journey began at Lakeland High School in Northern Westchester County. He received a number of honors including being named the New York State Gatorade Player of the Year in 2010 and 2011 and the NYS Louisville Slugger Player of the Year in 2010.
Upon entering the University of Richmond in Virginia, Jon was named the Atlantic 10 Conference’s Preseason Rookie of the Year but his collegiate career was anything but smooth sailing. While at UR, Jon endured five surgeries, four to his arm, forcing him to redshirt twice and miss almost three full seasons. He made the transition to corner infielder in graduate school, and returned to the mound as a two-way player in his last collegiate season. That year Jon was named to the A-10’s All-Academic Team and completed his Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. Jon then signed his first professional contract with the Normal Cornbelters. He also played for the York Revolution of the Atlantic League and the Quebec Capitales of the Can-Am League.
Jon’s career took off in 2018 when he made Aliyah and became an Israeli citizen. In 2019 he helped the Israeli National Baseball Team advance through four qualifying events in Europe to earn the first spot in the 2020/21 Tokyo Olympics! Jon threw 15 innings for Team Israel throughout the summer, tallying just three earned runs (0 runs in nine innings in the European Qualifiers in Germany and Italy, earning two wins and a save while striking out 16 and walking none). This winter, Jon played in the prestigious Australian Baseball League (ABL) with the Perth Heat before traveling to Arizona to throw for MLB teams. In February of this year, it all came together when he was signed as a pitcher by the Chicago Cubs organization
We not only welcome Jon to Western New York, but we look forward to hearing more about his baseball odyssey at a Zoom event co-sponsored by Nickel City Jews, Temple Beth Tzedek and the JCC on Thursday, October 1 beginning at 7 pm. Stay tuned for details on how you can register for the event.