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Fred Martin (baseball)

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Title: Fred Martin (baseball)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Happy Chandler, Bruce Sutter, Stan Williams (baseball), 1949 in baseball, Eddie Dyer, Max Lanier, 1915 in baseball, Cuban League, St. Louis Cardinals all-time roster, College of Coaches
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Fred Martin (baseball)

Fred Martin
Born: (1915-06-27)June 27, 1915
LeFlore County, Oklahoma
Died: June 11, 1979(1979-06-11) (aged 63)
Chicago, Illinois
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 21, 1946 for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
September 24, 1950 for the St. Louis Cardinals
Career statistics
Win-Loss record 12–3
Earned run average 3.78
Innings pitched 162

Fred Turner Martin (June 27, 1915 – June 11, 1979) was an American pitcher, coach and scout in Major League Baseball. Born in Williams, Oklahoma, Martin threw and batted right-handed, stood 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) (185 cm) tall and weighed 185 pounds (84 kg) during his active playing career.

Martin was one of a handful American Major League players who "jumped" to the then-outlaw Mexican League during the 1946 season. With the reserve clause then binding players permanently to the U.S. teams who held their contracts, the insurgent Mexican League induced players such as Martin, Sal Maglie, Mickey Owen, Lou Klein, Max Lanier, Danny Gardella and others to leave their clubs — in Martin's (Lanier's and Klein's) case, the pennant-contending but notoriously low-paying St. Louis Cardinals — for greater riches south of the border. Martin, then almost 31, was in his first MLB campaign after years of toiling in the minors and World War II service. He had appeared in six games for the 1946, title-bound Cards, winning two of three decisions and compiling an earned run average of 4.08 in 28⅔ innings pitched. He, along with the other "jumpers," was then suspended by Commissioner of Baseball Albert B. Chandler. While the Mexican League raids of MLB stopped, and most of the American players soon attempted to rejoin "organized baseball" in the U.S., the bans remained in force until June 5, 1949. Martin and Lanier had filed a $2.5 million suit against baseball in an attempt to have the bans lifted.[1]

Martin, nearly 34 at that point, returned to the Cardinals upon his reinstatement and posted a 6–0 mark with a 2.44 ERA in 70 innings for the remainder of 1949. He then spent one final season in the National League with the 1950 Cards, winning four of six decisions and posting a 5.12 ERA. Overall, Martin appeared in 57 career MLB games, won 12 games and lost only three, with an ERA of 3.78 in 162 innings pitched. Martin pitched in the minor leagues through the 1950s; his last pitching appearance came as the 45-year-old playing manager of the Class C St. Cloud Rox.[2] Martin appeared in 618 minor league games between 1935 and 1960, and won 169 of 304 decisions.[2]

Taught 'split-finger fastball'

In addition, he would have a long post-playing career as a scout, minor league manager and pitching coach, largely in the Chicago Cubs organization. He was a member of the Cubs' infamous College of Coaches from 1961 to 1965 and served as a minor league instructor for the Cubs (1966–75; 1977–78) and Detroit Tigers (1976). He became especially famous as a proponent of the split-finger fastball, which he taught to Cub farmhand Bruce Sutter, who mastered it enough to become a dominant relief pitcher in the 1970s and 1980s, and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Sutter's success focused industry-wide attention on Martin's expertise. In 1979, former Cub shortstop Don Kessinger, named the playing manager of the Chicago White Sox, asked him to be the Chisox' pitching coach, but Martin was ill with cancer and served only a few months in the job. He died June 11 in Chicago, Illinois, at the age of 63.

External links

  • Baseball Reference


  • Retrosheet
  • Bruce Sutter's Hall of Fame induction speech
Preceded by
Stan Williams
Chicago White Sox pitching coach
Succeeded by
Ron Schueler
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