64 Parishes

Joe Martina

In 1924 New Orleans pitcher Oyster Joe Martina led the Washington Senators baseball team against the New York Giants to win the World Series.

Joe Martina

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Joe Martina. Bain News Service

“Oyster” Joe Martina of New Orleans had a long and productive career as a minor-league baseball player. After fourteen seasons in the minors, he reached the major leagues in 1924 with the Washington Senators and pitched in the World Series that year.

Martina was born on July 8, 1889. He was a wild fire-baller, with a blazing fastball, a lively curve ball, and tremendous durability. He won 121 games in seven seasons with Beaumont in the Texas League and 133 more in seven years with his hometown New Orleans Pelicans en route to a minor-league mark of 349 wins and 277 losses.

After leading the Pelicans to the Southern Association pennant in 1923 with a record of twenty-one wins and ten losses, Martina got the attention of the Washington Senators and made his major-league debut on April 19, 1924, at the age of thirty-four. He tallied six wins against eight losses on the season and threw a single perfect inning against the New York Giants in Game Three of the 1924 World Series, which the Senators captured in seven games.

Martina returned to New Orleans for another four seasons, helping the Pelicans win two more Southern Association pennants. Martina has more career victories than any other pitcher in the history of the New Orleans Pelicans: 133 wins against 79 losses. It wasn’t until 1980 that George Brunet broke Martina’s minor-league record of 2,770 career strikeouts.

He retired from professional baseball after the 1935 season and became a salesman for the American Brewery Company in New Orleans. He was inducted into the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Greater New Orleans Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.

Martina died on March 22, 1962.