Wednesday, October 14, 2009

#118) J.C. MARTIN

J.C. Martin was acquired by the New York Mets as the player to be named later in the Ken Boyer trade to the Chicago White Sox. Martin joined the Mets to start the 1968 season. Primarily filling the role of third catcher (behind Jerry Grote and Duffy Dyer) he played two years in New York. J.C. was a member of the 1969 World Champion Miracle Mets. His bunt in game four of the World Series proved to be a game winner. The Baltimore Orioles were deadlocked with the Mets at 1-1 in the game at Shea Stadium. Martin came to bat as a pinch-hitter for pitcher, Tom Seaver in the bottom of the 10th inning. Rod Gaspar was on second base representing the winning run. J.C. bunted and Orioles pitcher Pete Richert fielded the ball. While Martin was running to first base, Richert's throw struck him on the arm. The errant throw allowed Gaspar to score from second base and give the Mets the victory 2-1.

Replays later showed that Martin was running inside the baseline and therefore could have been called out for interference. The umpires ruled that he was not intentionally interfering with the play and upheld their original call of safe. As a result of this play the "running lane" that extends halfway down the first base line to the bag was added to all professional ball parks. A runner can be running inside this lane and hit by the ball without interference being called.

J.C. Martin signed his card in the set, adding a great "1969 World Series Champion" inscription, from an autograph request mailed to his home on November 30, 2008.

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