After Martin failed as both a first and third baseman, he was converted by the White
Sox to a fine-fielding catcher. He particularly excelled at handling the floating
knuckleballs of Hoyt Wilhelm. On September 10, 1967, he caught Joel Horlen's no-hitter.
That winter, the Mets acquired him to back up Jerry Grote.
Though a weak hitter,
Martin is best remembered for two pinch-hitting appearances for New York. In the
1969 LCS opener, he delivered a key bases-loaded single. When he came off the bench
in the bottom of the 10th in Game Four of the World Series, he triggered one of the
most controversial plays in post-season history. He bunted to Baltimore pitcher Pete
Richert, whose throw to first struck Martin on the wrist and ricocheted into short
right, allowing pinch runner Rod Gaspar to score the winning run from second. Orioles
manager Earl Weaver, who had been ejected earlier, saw the play and protested after
the game that Martin had run illegally inside the foul line. Umpire Shag Crawford
»October 15, 1969: A memorable World Series game pits Tom Seaver against Mike Cuellar. RF Ron Swoboda's questionable dive at Brooks Robinson's sinking liner with runners at 1B and 3B in the 9th inning results in a brilliant catch, even though Frank Robinson tags and scores the tying run. In the 10th, Mets pinch-hitter J.C. Martin, running illegally inside the 1B line after a bunt, is hit on the wrist by P Pete Richert's errant throw, enabling pinch runner Rod Gaspar to score from second as the Mets win 2–1. The game is enlivened by Earl Weaver getting thrown out after protesting ball and strike calls by Shag Crawford. Earl is the 3rd manager to leave early in a World Series, but the first since 1935.