Ned Martin

From BR Bullpen

Edward Martin III

Biographical Information[edit]

Ned Martin was a radio and television announcer for the Boston Red Sox for 32 years.

Martin's other passion, aside from baseball, was literature. He was an expert on Ernest Hemingway and would regularly insert literary quotes into his broadcasts. He was also known for his extensive vocabulary, the result of having been an English major at Duke University. His college studies were interrupted when he served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II, seeing action at the Battle of Iwo Jima. He returned to Duke after the war, graduating in 1948, and briefly worked in the advertising industry in New York, NY, then in publishing in Washington, DC. There he re-joined one of his college classmates, Bob Wolff who was now a broadcaster for the Washington Senators and who got him his start in the business. He worked for radio station WINX in the Washington suburb of Rockville, MD for a while, and then for WFRC in Athens, GA.

In 1956, he became the play-by-play announcer for the Charleston Senators of the American Association; he also did play-by-play work for the football and basketball teams of the University of West Virginia. But he wanted to broadcast major league games, and kept on sending tapes around in order to land a job. One of these tapes eventually reached Curt Gowdy, the Red Sox's broadcaster at the time, who invited him to Baltimore, MD for an on-air test late in 1960. It only lasted an inning-and-a-half, but Gowdy was impressed enough that he recommended him to replace his partner Bill Crowley, who was retiring.

Thus began his long partnership with the Red Sox, at the start of 1961 season. Gowdy, Art Gleeson and him shared a broadcast booth for WHDH, with their commentary serving both the radio and television broadcasts of the Red Sox; the three would rotate, doing part of the television and part of the radio play-by-play. Gleeson passed away after the 1964 season and was replaced by former player Mel Parnell. Two years later, Gowdy left to become the announcer on the NBC Game of the Week, but he failed to get the job as his replacement. Instead, Ken Coleman joined the announcing team, coming over from the Cleveland Indians. During those years, he also did broadcast work for the Boston Patriots of the National Football League, and Ivy League college football. From 1969 to 1971, Johnny Pesky replaced Parnell as the third man in the booth. In 1972, WBZ-TV took over as the Sox's television broadcaster; Coleman moved to television full-time, while Martin became the principal radio announcer on WHDH. He was paired for a short time with John Maclean and Dave Martin, before Jim Woods took the job in 1974. Woods had a lot of on-air experience, and the two worked very well together, teaming up for five years.

In mid-September of the Red Sox's excellent 1975 season, the radio broadcasting rights moved from WHDH, which had held them since 1945, to WMEX. Under pressure from fans, they kept the announcing team, but "jazzed up" the broadcasts by adding a pre- and postgame show and forcing the announcers to read advertisements on the air during innings. He was part of the NBC television broadcast crew for that year's World Series and actually got to call Carlton Fisk's dramatic home run in Game 6 for a national television audience. He later joined broadcasting legend Ernie Harwell to work the American League Championship Series on CBS Radio from 1976 to 1978. He and Woods were fired by WMEX (now WITS) after the Red Sox's loss in the one-game playoff against the New York Yankees at the end of the 1978 season. However, he immediately found a job replacing Dick Stockton as the team's play-by-play announcer on television broadcasts on WSBK-TV, on channel 38. There he teamed up with analysts Ken Harrelson from 1979 to 1981 and Bob Montgomery from 1982 to 1987. Starting in 1985, the pair also worked on the New England Sports Network, which broadcast all the games that WSBK did not carry. In 1987, the pair was split, as WSBK decided to retain Montgomery, while NESN kept Martin on board. He was replaced by Sean McDonough on WSBK, while Montgomery was replaced by Jerry Remy on NESN. He was let go after the 1992 season, and while he would have preferred to retire on his own terms, he realized the time had come to move on, as his health was degrading. He retired to a farmhouse he had bought in Clarksville, VA.

He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2000. He attended the public memorial service put on at Fenway Park on July 22, 2002 after Ted Williams passed away, but sadly, the next day, he suffered a fatal heart attack on the trip back to Virginia, at Raleigh-Durham Airport.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Bob LeMoine: "Ned Martin", in Bill Nowlin and Cecilia Tan, ed.: '75:The Red Sox Team that Saved Baseball, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2015, pp. 250-256. ISBN 978-1-933599-97-7
  • Bob LeMoine: "Ned Martin", in Bill Nowlin and Leslie Heaphy, ed.: The 1986 Boston Red Sox: There Was More Than Game 6, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2016. pp. 311-317. ISBN 978-1-943816-19-4

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