Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Morrie Martin


Date and Place of Birth: September 3, 1922 Dixon, Missouri

Date and Place of Death: May 25, 2010 Washington, Missouri

Baseball Experience: Major League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Unknown
Military Unit:
49th Engineer Combat Battalion US Army

Area Served: Mediterranean and European Theaters of Operations


Morris W “Morrie” Martin was born on September 3, 1922 in Dixon, Missouri. The Brooklyn Dodgers signed Martin after scout Wally Schang watched him pitch two shutouts and strike out 43 batters in one afternoon in his Missouri hometown. He was assigned to the Grand Forks Chiefs of the Class C Northern League and lead the league with a 2.05 ERA and made  the All-Star team. His record was 16-7 and earned him a promotion to the St Paul Saints of the American Association for 1942.


On December 28, 1942, Martin entered military service with the Army at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. He served overseas with the 49th Engineer Combat Battalion and was involved in amphibious landings at North Africa, Sicily and Omaha Beach on D-Day. He suffered shrapnel wounds twice and was buried alive in Germany when the house he was in was shelled. Left for dead, he and two other soldiers clawed their way out and rejoined their battalion. At the Battle of the Bulge, he suffered a bullet wound to the thigh and nearly lost a leg after gangrene set in. It took more than 150 shots of penicillin to spare him from an amputation.


Martin was discharged from the Army in December 1945 and returned to professional baseball. In 1946 he was 14-6 for the Asheville Tourists in the Class B Tri-State League, with a 2.71 ERA in 173 innings. He began 1947 at Danville in the Three-I League and after seven good starts returned to St. Paul after a five-year absence. Used as a reliever the rest of that year, he became a starter again in 1948 and responded with a 13-11 record. He pitched in the Junior World Series against another Brooklyn farm club, the Montreal Royals, and then spent the winter in Cuba, pitching the Almanderas team to a title.


Martin made it to the major leagues as a 26 year-old rookie in 1949. He pitched 10 games for the Dodgers and had a 1-3 record. He was back in the majors in 1951, this time with the Athletics. It was to be his best season with an 11-4 record and 3.78 ERA, beating every American League team at least once. In total, Martin pitched 10 seasons in the majors with the Dodgers, Athletics, White Sox, Orioles, Cardinals, Indians and Cubs. Primarily a relief pitcher, he pitched a career-high 58 games in 1953 with the Athletics, posting a 10-12 record and 4.43 ERA


Martin returned to the minors after his major league career ended in 1959. He was with Houston in 1960, and had a brief coaching career before retiring.


Morrie Martin passed away on May 25, 2010 in Washington, Missouri.


Morrie Martin (left) with Bill Swank and Lou Brisie at the
Duty, Honor, Country: When Baseball Went to War Conference in New Orleans, November 2007.
(photo courtesy of Bill Swank)


Created June 20, 2007. Updated May 25, 2010.


Copyright © 2010 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.