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 Pepper Martin

Pepper Martin

Original Name Johnny Leonard Roosevelt
Birth
Temple, Cotton County, Oklahoma, USA
Death 5 Mar 1965 (aged 61)
McAlester, Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, USA
Burial Quinton, Haskell County, Oklahoma, USA
Memorial ID 9769 · View Source
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Major League Baseball Player. Played Major League baseball as an Outfielder for 13 seasons (1928, 1930-1940, 1944), all with the St. Louis Cardinals. He was an intensely fiery player who has been described as "dashing after every batted ball as if it were the seventh game of the World Series", and had endearing himself to baseball fans for his often dirty uniform and grubby blue-collar appearance. He was also known as a prankster in the clubhouse, and was very popular amongst his teammates. In 1928 he made his debut, batting a good .308 in 39 games as the Cardinals won the National League Pennant. He managed to get into a Series game that year as a pinch-runner as his Cardinals were swept by the Gehrig and Ruth-led New York Yankees. Sent down to the Minors, he was recalled for good in 1931, where he became part of the Cardinals starting outfield, batted .300 and helped them to clinch their 3rd straight NL Pennant. The 1932 World Series pitted the Cards against Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics, which featured future Hall of Famers Lefty Grove, Mickey Cochrane, Jimmy Foxx, and Al Simmons. Despite these stars, the Series belonged to Pepper Martin, who batted .500 with 12 hits, 5 RBIs, 5 Stolen Bases and a Home Run in the Cardinals 4 Games to 3 win. He got 3 hits off Lefty Grove in Game 1, his aggressive base running accounted for all the runs scored in Game 2, got 2 hits apiece in Games 3 and 4, and homered in Game 5 (driving in 4 of the Card's 5 runs). He even ended the Series by making a spectacular catch in Game 7 as the A's had the tying run on base in the bottom of the 9th inning. His performance made him wildly popular, causing Commissioned Kennesaw Landis to quip to him at the conclusion of the Series "I wish I could change places with you". The next year injuries kept him to 85 games played, but in 1933 he returned to form, batting .316, leading the NL in Hits (122), Stolen Bases (29) and being named to the very first Major League Baseball All-Star team. In 1934 the Cardinals' were dubbed the "Gas House Gang", with Pepper Martin as one of its main figures. He would again lead the League in Stolen Bases (23), hit for the Cycle on May 5th, make the All-Star team, and help the "Gang" back to the World Series. Although not quite as spectacular as his 1931 WS performance, he batted .355 with 11 hits and 4 RBIs as the Cardinals defeated the Detroit Tigers 4 Games to 3 (the Series was marked by the Detroit fans showering Cardinals outfield Ducky Medwick with garbage in Game 7). He would be named to 2 more All-Star teams (1935, 1937), lead the NL once more in Stolen Bases (23 in 1936), score in 13 consecutive games (1936) and bat over .300 four more times. However, his hard charging play took a toll on him, and various injuries caused him to play in less than 100 games the last 5 seasons of his career. After 1940 he retired to coach, but with many prime ballplayers in military service in 1944 returned to the Cardinals, playing in 40 game and hitting a respectable .279 (the Cards won the NL Pennant, but he didn't play in the Series). As a Minor League manager, his fiery temperament did not abate, and he was once suspended for a year for choking an umpire. His career totals were 1,189 Games Played, 1,227 Hits, 756 Runs, 59 Home Runs, 501 RBIs, 146 Stolen Bases and a career .298 Batting Average. In 1931 a Rochester, New York reported dubbed him the "Wild Horse of the Osage", a moniker that stuck with him through his career. Originally interred in the Memorial Park Cemetery in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, he was re-interred in January 2009 to lie next to his wife.

Bio by: Russ Dodge


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 3 Jun 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9769
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Pepper Martin (29 Feb 1904–5 Mar 1965), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9769, citing Quinton Cemetery, Quinton, Haskell County, Oklahoma, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .