Alumni Award News

2021 - Dick Martin '70

When observing high school baseball and basketball games, invariably you will see the most talented athletes manning the positions of point guard and shortstop. In the late 1960s, Thornton Academy basketball coach Jim McGaffin and baseball coach Phil Curtis penciled in Richard “Dickie” Martin to those positions on their scorecards.

In basketball, Dick contributed to the varsity team for three years. He was known for his slashing offensive style and his intense defensive attitude. In news clippings from the time, Ed Winston, a sports writer for the Portland Press Herald, referred to Dick as “TA’s two-way star ... a slick ball-handler.” In a January win over Portland, “...the quick hands of Dick Martin were an important key in the Maroon defense.” Later in a post- season win over rival St. Louis HS in the Western Maine semi- final, “Dick Martin continually plagued the Eagles offense with timely steals and outside shooting.”

In his senior season, Dick led his team with 78 assists, 69 steals, and 315 points which placed him as the fourth leading scorer in the league. For his efforts, Dick was named to the Big Seven All- Star team. As reported in the Portland Press Herald: “Thornton’s busy little driver Martin was a substantial vote-getter in tribute to his hustle and improved technique as the sharpest weapon in the ever dangerous Maroon’s arsenal. Martin complemented deadly outside shooting with some sensational driving while also sparking the defense for the Academy.”

Dick was later named to the prestigious Bangor Daily News All- Maine Schoolboy Basketball team being recognized as one of the top 15 players in the state.

In baseball, Dick truly left his mark at Thornton Academy. He started in 63 of 64 games for the varsity squad from his freshman through senior seasons. As a junior Dick was named to the 1969 All Telegram League All Star team as a pitcher, compiling a 5-2 record. In 65 innings pitched, he recorded 86 strikeouts. His only two losses were a heartbreaking 3-2 loss versus Cheverus in 10 innings and a 1-0 loss to St. Louis.

As a senior Dick spun a 19 strikeout, 5 hit masterpiece in a 5-3 win over Westbrook. In that game he also collected two of TA’s eight hits and had three RBI.

When not on the mound, Martin could be found ensconced at shortstop. In a spring 1970 article penned by Press Herald sports editor Dick Doyle, he noted, “...excellence at the toughest position in baseball, the all-important shortstop – Southwestern Maine is graced with some rare practitioners this season. For spectacular play from the deep hole or even from the right side of second base, Thornton’s Martin rates the nod.”

The culmination of Martin’s schoolboy baseball career occurred in the summer following his senior season while he was playing for the Owen Davis Legion Post. Dick attended a workout sponsored by the Boston Record American Sunday Advertiser held at Capital Park in Augusta, Maine. Five Maine players were selected that day to be invited to play in the New England Sandlot All-Star game to be held at Fenway Park at the end of July. As noted by former Red Sox great Frank Malzone and his scouting staff, “Earning the right to be chosen the best player in the Maine workout was pitcher Martin, a hard throwing right hander. He really kept the ball low and he threw it hard. He overpowered the batters.” Dick pitched one inning in the afternoon game of a doubleheader at Fenway Park before injuring his arm.

athletic hall of fame inductees recognized on football field with players in background