Jim Martin - Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Jim Martin

Ballplayers Wounded in Combat

 

Date and Place of Birth: August 25, 1920 Rockingham County, NC
Date and Place of Death:    June 30, 2008 Greensboro, NC
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Second Base
Rank: Major
Military Unit:  421st Bomb Squadron, 504th Bomb Group US Army Air Force
Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations

James P. Martin, the son of Walter and Loula Martin, was born on August 25, 1920, in Rockingham County, North Carolina. In 1942, aged 21, he was signed by the Oshkosh Giants of the Class D Wisconsin State League, and played 65 games at second base, batting .279. That same year he was admitted to the Junior College division of Oak Ridge Military Institute. On April 17, 1943, he entered military service with the Army Air Force, and served as a bomber/navigator in the Pacific. Second-Lieutenant Martin was stationed at North Field on the island of Tinian, with the 421st Bomb Squadron, 504th Bomb Group of the 20th Air Force. On May 29, 1945, Martin was part of Captain Marcus Worde’s crew aboard the Boeing B-29 Superfortress “Sitting Pretty” that was shot down over Yokohama, Japan. It was their 17th mission and all crew members parachuted to safety and were held at Ofuna Prison Camp in Tokyo for the remainder of the war. 

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart, and returned to the United States in late 1945. Martin didn't return to baseball, but attended Sacramento State University. In 1951, he served his country again, flying 55 missions in the Korean Conflict. Martin remained in the Air Force with Strategic Air Command and attained the rank of major before retiring in 1963.

In 1964, Martin began a career teaching and coaching at Martinsville High School, in Martinsville, Virginia. He led the Martinsville High Bulldogs baseball team to a second-place state victory, and retired in 1983.

Jim Martin passed away on June 30, 2008, in Greensboro, North Carolina. He was 87 years old and is buried at Roselawn Memorial Gardens in Reidsville, North Carolina.

Date Added January 20, 2018

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