By FRANK WALL
Marty Callaghan is certainly a “must” in our sports biography series as he was Norwood’s first ballplayer to play in the Major Leagues. He played four years of outstanding baseball in the majors and 11 years in the minors, and is considered the best player ever to come out of Norwood. Reading on, some of you fans who are not familiar with his great feats on the diamond will be amazed at the greatness of Martin Francis Callaghan of 6 Hoyle Street, Norwood.
Nothing takes the place of experience and experience is gained only through the passage of time.
How many people in Norwood today know the experience and background of this gentleman?
Worcester to Catalina
Marty Callaghan has played baseball professionally from Worcester in the East to Catalina Island, which is 25 miles out from California in | the Pacific. While with Seattle in the Pacific Coast League, he played Wednesday games in Vancouver (stores closed) and he belonged to Wichita Falls in Texas, also, during his many seasons in organized ball.
Marty’s major league affiliations were entirely in the National League He served with distinction both with the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds.
His tour of duty took him, likewise, into the Triple-A International League and the old New England League, later termed the Eastern League.
Lefty All the Way
Left-handed all the way was Marty His position was the outfield in professional ball but he was more than adequate as a pitcher and first baseman.
What would you say Io the) statement that, playing under the same conditions, the old Knights of Columbus team, of which Marty was a member, could certainly hold their I own with four present-day Major League teams.
When Marty Callaghan was fifteen, he was playing with and against men. His ability, poise and calm made him a respected leader always.
Before leaving for spring training, he always helped the local high school team in its formative stages.
Norwood had, at the time, no full-time employed coach.
Skate and play hockey -it was his dish. Outstandiing in football and basketball—there can be no denial.
Self-effacing to the point of reticence, none of this has come from Marty, himself. It is a factual account and, in a small measure, a most deserved accolade.
Hovered Around .300 Mark
Marty Callaghan in all his years of professional baseball hovered around or hit above .300.
His arm was strong, his intelligence beyond question.
To sum it up he could run, throw, field and hit.
Of local interest he was good for one or more per game over the right field fence at the Civic Field with the field running from Broadway out. This was in an era when the ball was not “juiced” and when pitchers could use deliveries which they had developed according to their talents.
Let’s review Marty Callaghan’s great career in baseball from his early days through his years in the Minors and Major Leagues.
Early Norwood Days.
Marty’s first love was baseball. He played It when he was 8 years old, playing in the old grassy’ fields of Norwood. Many a meal he would miss and many a night he would! come home in the dark with a baseball glove in his hand. Even as a boy he was a natural ballplayer, always playing with boys older than he and alway’s outshining them.
When he entered high school he was a developed baseball player. In his three years of playing at Norwood High he had an average of over .450, was a terror on the bases and the best fielder in the area. There were no regular high school coaches in those days the Civic Association would send coaches annually Marty’s early high school coaches were Red Evans and Tom Shea. There were no leagues in those day’s, either, and so they would play teams at random like Boston English, Latin, and Dedham.
Four Sports Star
In his high school Marty was an excellent football and basketball player. He was a great end for Norwood High and also a high-scoring forward on the basketball team Marty was also a fine hockey : player but baseball was still No. 1 with him.
Here is a roster of the Norwood High 1916 football team of which Marty was a member- Marty Callaghan, John Sullivan, Charley Sullivan, Charley Sullivan, Ken King, Leon Smelstor, Bob Peterson, Edwin Ward, Red Connolly, Roger Knight. Charley Kenefic, Bill O’Donnell, Ted Madden, Jeff Douglas, Fred Carlson and Stecker Drummey.
The Norwood High baseball team of 1916 blossomed into the great K of C team. In those day’s the Civic was the only place to play ball and people would jam it to see Marty and the great team. They were the best in the area and were very seldom beaten., This team still stands out as the best semi-pro team In Norwood’s history. Here are the members of that K of C team which Sack Curtin managed: Marty Callaghan. Bill and Mike O’Donnell, Jerry Carberry, Stecker Drummey, Jimmy Fitzgerald, Mickey Dyer, Hank ‘‘Judge’’ Coughlin, Toad Richardson, Tim Coughlin, Myer Coughlin, Doc Curlin, Lester Lee and Puck Crowley. Marty used to pitch in Norwood on a Saturday and play in Rhode Island on a Sunday. Here is an actual write-up of the 1919 K of C Championship game with Dedham.
“Callaghan’s Pitching Wins K. of C. Championship”.
“In the third and deciding game of the Dedham series Norwood K of C. won by bunching two hits and by exhibiting air-tight defensive work. The pitching of Marty Callaghan was nothing less, than remarkable and the popular big southpaw allowed the Dedham fence busters only three hits -one a triple.
“The betting before the game was 6-5. Norwood being the favorite by a slight margin It is a true fact that it’s next to impossible to topple the locals when Marty Callaghan is on the pitcher’s mound It was nothing but the same old team confidence which has characterized the Knight’s every time Marty has been amidst them» that] enabled them to give the Ded-hamites a sweet calsomine polishing on their home field Saturday ”
(All articles originally published in the Norwood Messenger)