The 1964 National League MVP found himself on the 1966 New York Mets. Ken Boyer, an aging star from the St. Louis Cardinals, would spend a year and a half with the Mets. He batted .258/.312/.400 before it all came to an end.
Boyer and a player to be named later were sent to the Chicago White Sox for Bill Southworth and a player to be named later. The Mets ended up sending Sandy Alomar to Chicago with the White Sox delivering J.C. Martin to New York.
The deal struck on July 22, 1967, would have some major implications. Boyer faded. Alomar had a long career spent mostly with the California Angels. Martin would have one big plate appearance for the Mets.
The Mets traded a former MVP for two big postseason plate appearances
J.C. Martin didn’t have the kind of career the players the Mets gave up in this trade did. His regular season performances as a catcher and sometimes first baseman were mostly forgettable.
In two seasons with the Mets, Martin was a .219/.281/.316 hitter. He did, however, come around at the perfect time to do something pretty special. Martin was a member of both the 1968 and 1969 Mets.
Martin was a part-time player for the Mets and yet he would manage to have two gigantic plate appearances for the team in the 1969 postseason. The first came in the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the series.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Mets were trailing 5-4. They quickly tied it up when Cleon Jones drove in Wayne Garrett after a leadoff double. The Mets would take the lead by the time Martin came to the plate with the bases loaded to pinch hit for Tom Seaver. A single and an error allowed for all three of the runners to score. Martin was thrown out at third base to end the inning but the Mets now led 9-5.
This wasn’t the only major plate appearance by Martin the playoffs. More famously, he pinch hit again for Seaver in the bottom of the 10th in Game 4 of the World Series.
The game was tied 1-1 when Martin was sent to the plate with runners on first and second and nobody out. An attempt sacrifice bunt turned into a throwing error by the pitcher. Pinch runner Rod Gaspar came around to score and give the Mets a win.
Almost by accident, Martin helped the Mets secure two huge playoff wins. It was about being in the right place at the right time. Although his career wasn’t magnificent, he came to the Mets at one of the best times.