Old Timers Member James Harold Martin Has Died

Nashville Old Timers has lost a dear friend, James Harold Martin, who passed away on March 15, 2024. We called him “James Harold” in baseball circles, and his quiet demeanor and unassuming personality were the envy of every Old Tomers board member. Getting him to talk about himself was hard, but he opened up about one particular feat he was proud of.

At the age of 18, he played for Woodbine Chamber of Commerce in the VFW Junior League and threw a no-hitter against Youth, Inc. on July 22, 1948. This was not the only time he held the opposing team without a hit.

“I had four no-hitters and struck out the first 18 batters for Sealtest in one Larry Gilbert League game,” he recalled, reminiscing on his career and one exceptional season. “I played until I was 36, mostly as a pitcher.”

He attended Nashville’s Turner Elementary School, where his baseball career began as a 13-year-old. He played in the VFW, Old Timers, and Larry Gilbert youth leagues and later in the City and Capitol leagues after a four-year stint in the Army.

In 1949, he was named to the Nashville Tennessean All-Eastern Second Team as a pitcher for Central High School. He also played for two years while serving during the Korean War and attended UT-Nashville for two years.

He remembers playing for coaches Gene Graves and Homer Moore in the Old Timers League, Buford Higgs in the Gilbert League, and Ray Cartwright and Simon Dickerson in the City League. His teams played games at Coleman, Shelby, Morgan, Centennial Parks, and Sulphur Dell.

Memories of attending games at Nashville’s historic ballpark included the many Nashville Vols players who came through town, and he enjoyed supporting the Nashville Sounds, especially during their tenure at Herschel Greer Stadium.

James Harold served as president of Old Timers from 1979-1980 and was proud of what the organization meant to so many.

He told me how he felt about the organization. “As our creed says, ‘to enjoy the fellowship and support the game of baseball.’ I attended my first Old Timers banquet in 1948 and only missed it when I was in the Army. Besides those few years, I am proud to have attended all the others since then.”

He could not attend recent banquets, but a scholarship has been awarded to a deserving high school senior baseball player in his name for the past few years. In 2022, Caden Gibson of Brentwood High School received the “James Harold Martin” scholarship, and his father, Duncan Gibson, has been a close personal friend of James Harold for some time.

He was a mentor and friend. All Old Timers members who knew him will miss his guiding hand and friendship. Until his passing, James Harold resided in Brentwood. You may read his obituary here:


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