Monday, January 04, 2010

#382 J.C. Martin

#382 J. C. Martin
Today we move on to the next transaction, which was conducted almost a year ago - I will catch up eventually - with reader Michael F. He sent the slabbed Steve Blass card that I recently referenced, as well as a bunch of the gold embossed inserts that Topps released in 1965 and this J.C. Martin card and asked for nothing in return. Thanks so much, Michael!

Fun facts about J.C. Martin:

-J.C. called Axton, VA home. He signed his first pro contract with the White Sox in 1956.

-Made his major league debut in 1959 at age 22, and received cups of coffee that year and the following season as well.

-As a corner infielder, made the Topps All-Star Rookie Team in 1961. However, he hit only .230 with five home runs and 32 RBI.

-After spending most of 1962 in the minors to convert to catcher, he returned to the majors in 1963 and flirted with the Mendoza line for the next two years.

-Had a career year in 1965, batting .261. He also set a dubious record (since broken) by allowing 33 passed balls, thanks in large part to Chicago's knuckleballing duo of Eddie Fisher and Hoyt Wilhelm.

-Caught Joe Horlen's no-hitter against the Tigers on September 10, 1967.

-Was relegated to backup duty during a two-year stint with the Mets (1968-1969), but figured prominently in their postseason run in 1969. Provided insurance with a pinch-hit two-run single in New York's Game One win in the NLCS.

-His second big at-bat in the 1969 postseason gets its own bullet point. In the bottom of the tenth inning of Game Four of the World Series, he bunted and reached safely when Oriole pitcher Pete Richert's errant throw hit him in the arm. Rod Gaspar scored the winning run on the play; although replays showed that Martin was running inside the baseline and should have been called out for interference, the umpires claimed that he did not intentionally interfere. As an O's fan, I'd love to know how they divined his intentions.

-Ended his career with a three-year turn as a Cubs reserve; retired after the team released him in the spring of 1973. For his career, he hit .222 with 32 home runs and 230 RBI in parts of 14 seasons.

-Coached for the Cubs in 1974 and broadcast White Sox games on WSNS alongside Harry Caray in 1975.
#382 J. C. Martin (back)


  1. Nothing against J.C., but now you've revived bad memories of the '69 Series, Kevin. Happened just months after the January '69 Colts-Jets debacle. Even the Baltimore Bullets managed to lose to the Knicks somewhere in there. Talk about bad karma.

  2. Doug - No question. What a screwy year for Baltimore/New York sports. At least there's the 1958, 1959, and 2001 NFL championships to swing the balance a bit!

  3. JC is the one who ran out of the baseline (cheater) and Pete Richert's throw hit him as the Mets beat the world's best team in 69