Martin Esteban, Jr., Honomu Rocket Legend, dies of cancer
Esteban passed away at home on Tuesday, Jan 3, surrounded by his 4 children and wife Edie. It was a peaceful passing, according to daughter Tina (Esteban) Cook. He was 77 years old.
Esteban lost his battle to Bile Duct cancer.
Esteban lettered in three sports in high School; basketball, baseball and football while growing up on the island of Lanai and later O’ahu.
It was baseball that Esteban is best known for, as he pitched six no hitters while in high school. During his senior year of high school Esteban attended Farrington on the island of Oahu where he was named Most Outstanding Athlete of the Year.
For his many outstanding contributions to sports Esteban was inducted into the Big Island Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.
Esteban also played softball for the Honomu Rockets as part of the Hawaii County Senior Citizens Softball league and had a very long and distinguished career.
He’s survived by his wife of 52 years, Edie, three sons; Nate, Greg and Martin and daughter, Tina.
Services are through Dodo Mortuary. Celebration of Life is for this Sunday the 8th, 9-11a visitation, with a Memorial service starting at 11a at Dodo Mortuary
The. following story was written four years ago by the Big Dog, when Martin Esteban, Jr. was still swinging a strong bat for the Honomu Rockets.
BIG DOG Story on Martin Esteban, Jr. (August 13, 2007)
There’s nothing more exciting in life then to be able to do things that are truly fun in life, especially when they are exercise related.
For Martin Esteban, Jr. the love of sports came at a very early age as this multi-talented individual excelled in a variety of sports activities and continues to enjoy the benefits of participation into his 70’s.
“I’ve always loved sports,” said Esteban, “especially baseball.”
Growing up as a teenager, on theislandofLanai, Esteban made a name for himself in basketball, football and baseball, lettering in all three sports for 3 years while on the Pineapple Isle.
“The school was so small that I had to play offense and defense in football,” said Esteban, “and I played forward in basketball.”
Esteban was an all purpose football player atLanaias he was both a running back and part time quarterback, then played free safety while on defense.
But it was baseball where Esteban wowed the crowds. “I pitched 6 to 8 no hitters while atLanai,” said Esteban, “I can’t remember exactly, as it was such a long time ago”
Esteban was also asked to pitch for the Plantation League at age 14 and went on to throw another three no hit games.
Because of his growing reputation Esteban was contacted by Adrian De Mello, who was one of the top officials in the league and who also had connections with Dole Plantation. De Mello asked Esteban to join the Summer Baseball League inHonoluluwhich was primarily made up of adults.
“I was only 16 when I joined the Honolulu Braves for summer baseball,” recalls Esteban, “and at that time my best pitches was my fastball, a natural curve and a slider.”
In his senior year Esteban’s father became ill with asthma and both decided to move toHonolulu. “It was too moist living onLanai,” said Esteban, “and my dad’s health required us to move to a drier area.”
As a result Esteban finished his senior year atFarringtonHigh School. “I tried to get intoSt. Louisand Iolani,” said Esteban, “but both schools didn’t want me because I was a senior.”
At Farrington Esteban got to play starting forward on the basketball team and ended up playing St. Louis for the league championship in which Esteban scored the winning basket.
“Our basketball team went on to beat Kohala in the Shrine Territorial Championships in 1952 to claim the territorial title,” said Esteban.
Farrington recognized Esteban for his outstanding talents on the court and on the baseball diamond by proclaiming him the Most Outstanding Athlete of the Year.
One month after graduating from high school Esteban’s father passed away. “It was a difficult time for me as my parents were divorced and I had lived with my dad,” said Esteban. “I felt lost and alone and for a time stayed with friends.”
Right after high school Esteban also had an opportunity to go toJapanand play professional baseball, but with the death of his father some of those dreams faded.
Esteban went on to attendClarkCollegeinWashingtonwhere he became a walk on for football, basketball and baseball athlete and was awarded a three year scholarship.
Throughout most of his life Esteban continued to play basketball and baseball while maintaining a strong physical workout schedule.
“I believe in lifting weights on a regular basis,” said Esteban, “and I continue to lift almost each day for about an hour.”
Adding to Esteban’s routine is an hour a day on a stationary bike to maintain his cardiovascular system.
“I’m also careful with what I eat as I watch my fat and sugar intake,” Esteban said, “I’ll eat lots of fruits and veggies and prefer chicken and fish over beef.”
Now, at age 73, Esteban continues to pitch for the Honomu Rockets senior softball team.
“Martin is an exceptional athlete,” said Harold Uyeno, a longtime friend and teammate. “Even though he has knee problems Martin still gives 100% and is a key player, outstanding pitcher and good batter on this team.”
Martin Esteban, Jr. was inducted into the Big Island Sports Hall of Fame seven years ago for his long list of athletic accomplishments and continues to play and contribute to the sport that he has loved since childhood.
“We all began to slow down as we age,” said Esteban, “but if we continue to exercise and stay fit we can continue to have fun and participate in the activities that we’ve always enjoyed.”
“I believe in having fun and I sometimes indulge,” said Esteban, “but the key is to do everything in moderation.”
Don’t let age be an excuse to slow you down or put you on the sidelines. If you take good care of your body by eating the right foods and maintaining a healthy fitness program you’ll be able to slow the aging process.