Winter 2019 McKendree Magazine

Educator Enters Extra Innings

Tracy Snyder Martz ’78by Lisa Brandon, Director of Media Relations

Living three hours northeast of St. Louis, lifelong loyal Cardinals baseball fan Tracy Snyder Martz ’78 missed the excitement of watching home games from the stands at Busch Stadium.

“It’s my ‘happy place’,” explained the former English, reading and language arts teacher, who retired in 2017. “It wasn’t unusual for me to leave school at the end of the work day for a midweek game in St. Louis and arrive back at home in the wee hours of the morning, so I wouldn’t miss teaching the next day.”

As her (now adult) children grew older, it became easier for Tracy to take road trips to games and to spring training during spring break. Family and friends joked that the Cardinals should just put her on their payroll. What a perfect postretirement job, she imagined…

Tracy taught for 39 years in Platte City, Mo., and in Waterloo, Belleville, Columbia and most recently, Peoria, Ill., where she spent the last 15 years of her career. She and her husband, the Rev. Ron Martz, ’80, live in Chillicothe, Ill., where Ron is the pastor of First United Methodist Church. The small town lies along the Illinois River north of Peoria.

In spring 2018, the Cardinals’ Class A team, the Peoria Chiefs, advertised for ticket sellers and ticket takers. Tracy was offered a position, knowing it would cut down on her trips to Busch Stadium.  Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals advertised for ticket sellers and ushers so, with Ron’s encouragement, she applied. While awaiting the outcome, the Cardinals re-opened interviews for stadium tour guides.

“The nature of the job as a tour guide was too good to be true for this former educator,” she said. “I jumped at the chance.”

In April 2018, Tracy joined the St. Louis Cardinals Museum and tour staff at Busch Stadium. She greets guests, answers their questions, and leads tours that include the home dugout, radio broadcast booth and other areas normally off-limits to the public. In the Hall of Fame and Museum, visitors can hold bats used by the great Stan Musial or catcher Yadier Molina, and try on a diamond and-ruby-studded World Series ring.

“The museum is an amazing experience for any baseball fan,” said Tracy. “The history of the Cardinals is a rich and storied one, and we are privileged to share that with fans of all ages.”

While she doesn’t typically encounter players or coaches on the job, the Cardinals Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in August was a memorable exception.

“My morning responsibilities placed me 25 feet from my all-time favorite player, Willie McGee, as he signed autographs in the museum,” Tracy said. “Later that day, I greeted Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Mike Shannon, Bob Gibson, Mike Shildt, Whitey Herzog, Chris Carpenter and many others. It was an unbelievable experience. I’ve also worked a special event where I greeted guests inside the Cardinals’ clubhouse, dining room and training room.”

In the off-season, Tracy applies her teaching skills as a facilitator in the Cardinals Academic Program, or CAP, for children in grades 3-8. Schoolteachers can choose hands-on activities that integrate the game of baseball with units of study, aligned with Common Core standards, in math, science, language arts, social studies, history and the arts.

The Cardinals schedule her to work consecutive days whenever possible to minimize her 190-mile commute from home. She often stays overnight with longtime friends in Belleville, Ill., where she grew up and where she and Ron served for 15 years at St. Matthews UMC.

“While some people desire to travel in their retirement years, I’d just as soon spend my time at Busch Stadium,” said Tracy. “I can now say, ‘I work for the St. Louis Cardinals!’”


Retired teacher Tracy Snyder Martz ’78 shares her knowledge of St. Louis Cardinals baseball with visitors to Busch Stadium.