Martin passes away

Posted 11/19/20

Longtime GHSA umpire Jack Martin passed away Wednesday night. He was scheduled to be inducted

into the Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2021.

 

Martin passes away

Longtime Georgia High School Association umpire Jack Martin passed away Wednesday, November 18. Martin was scheduled to be inducted into the Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2021. He was 80.

One could make the assumption that Jack Martin’s career as a baseball umpire bordered legendary status.

Not only did Martin oversee the Tara Officials Association for more than 50 years, he also was a major figure for the Southern Collegiate Umpires Association. In addition, he helped run the Pro Umpires Clinic for baseball and fast-pitch softball umpire for 13 years.

“I’m very proud and honored,” Martin said when he found out he would be inducted into the GDC Hall of Fame.

Martin's path to becoming an umpire was an interesting journey. After working at Reeder and McGahee sporting goods store in Clayton County, he got involved in sports and eventually became an umpire. Not only did he do college baseball games and served as vice-president of the Southern Collegiate Umpires Association, he served as the assigning secretary for Tara Umpires for more than five decades. Martin helped Tara become the largest high school officials association in the state.

And Martin was well-known for promoting the game as well.

“I was putting together a ninth-grade tournament and I called him about umpires,” said Starr’s Mill head baseball coach Brent Moseley, who will be inducted into the GDC Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2021.

“He told me to go ahead and put it together. He assured me that we would have umpires, even if he had to do it himself. That’s the kind of guy he was.”

But Martin was also big on training local umpires to be sure they had the tools they needed to be successful. In his Pro Umpires Clinics, Martin had famous umps such as the late Harry Wendelstedt, Gerry Davis and Marvin Hudson, three Major League umpires who called the All-Star Game as well as postseason games and the World Series.

As a college umpire, Martin officiated NCAA Division I games that often featured schools from the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern Conferences as well as other state colleges.

And it was normal to see Martin on a crew officiating state baseball championship series in the Georgia High School Association.

“Jack was all about baseball and trying to build baseball and umpiring on the southside for a long time,” said former Jonesboro High baseball coach Don Corr, who now serves as Associate Director at the Georgia High School Association.

“We first met in 1984 and Jack built the Tara organization into one of the best in the state. He trained officials well and also worked with college groups. No matter how short he was on umpires, you always had officials to work your games. You never had to worry about not having officials under Jack Martin. He always did what he could.”

Martin recently retired in 2019 from umpiring college games. He said it wasn’t because he couldn’t do it anymore.

“My reflexes just weren’t as good,” he said. “It was time to get out.”