Series’ first no-hit pitcher back in town

After tossing the Little League World Series’ first no-hitter in 1950, Bill Martin, of Houston, Texas, was back in South Williamsport Sunday for the first time since his team won the Series that year.

“It’s been 63 years since we have been here so I just wanted to come back and see how things look,” said Martin on being at this year’s Series. ” … It’s been a long time.”

Martin threw the no-hitter against a Westerly, R.I., team in his team’s first game of the 1950 World Series and then tossed a one-hit, one-run game in the championship against Bridgeport, Conn., to win 2-1. Martin went on to be a captain of his high school’s baseball team, where he threw several no-hitters, his wife, Freda, said.

The two have watched the games of this year’s Series at Lamade Stadium since Wednesday when they traveled here from Houston.

While reminiscing about that magical summer in 1950, Martin’s fondest memories weren’t about those two near-perfect games, but of meeting his idol as a Little Leaguer, Carl E. Stotz, founder of the youth baseball organization.

“To me and the other kids, Carl Stotz was Little League Baseball. We all looked up to him,” Martin said, adding that Stotz shook his hand after throwing the one-hit championship game.

And although it’s been more than 60 years since he was at the World Series, Martin said the hospitality still is the same.

“Wherever we went, the people treated us just like royalty,” Martin said. “They were so nice.”

He later added that he received hand-written letters from local people weeks after the Series had concluded congratulating him on the win.

But it wasn’t until recently that Martin found out that he was the first to throw a no-hitter at the World Series. He said he was notified when contacted by Little League officials to attend the World of Little League: Peter J. McGovern Museum reopening earlier this year. Martin couldn’t make it then but was in attendance for this year’s games.

When asked if he had any tips for the pitchers in this year’s Series, Martin laughed and said he didn’t.

“These boys are doing alright,” he said.

He added that pitching was different when he played as he could pitch complete games needing only two-days’ rest between them.

And after being away for so long, Martin and Freda hope to be back next year as Little League celebrates its 75th anniversary.

“God willing, we’ll be back next year,” Freda said.