Ken Martin has an extensive library of Dodgers books and memorabilia, including a ball cap from when the team was based in Brooklyn, New York. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Whenever the Los Angeles Dodgers played the Montreal Expos or New York Mets, Ken Martin tried to attend as many games as he could to watch a team that was once affectionately referred to as “Dem Bums” in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Ken Martin, a lifelong Dodgers fan, poses at his home in Auburn on Saturday with a pumpkin carved by his daughter , sporting the Los Angeles Dodgers logo. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Martin, 72, went the distance on hot summer days to take in Expos-Dodgers games or make a two-for-one visit with his daughter, Anne Martin Sherman and her children, in Manhattan — and, of course, catch a Mets-Dodgers series.

“I was heartbroken when the Expos moved to Washington (D.C.),” he said. I haven’t been to Montreal since. When the Expos were playing the Dodgers in the middle of the summer, I would drive up and watch a three- or four-game series.”

“He used to drive to Montreal to see them play because the Expos were the closest National League team, and once he even got stopped at the border because the customs agent found it hard to believe that anyone was driving to Montreal for a baseball game,” Martin Sherman said. “Luckily the Dodgers come to town (in NYC). Luckily, I am living in a town with a National League team — if I didn’t, I would probably never see him.”

It is safe to say Ken, an Auburn resident and retired schoolteacher, is a devoted follower of the Dodgers and America’s pastime and will be keeping a close eye on the World Series. He wasn’t overjoyed when the Expos left Montreal to become the Washington Nationals in 2004, but the Mets are still slugging it out in New York City.

His knowledge of baseball is comprehensive and he has a his own library to prove it. 

Sure, he keeps his eye on the Red Sox when they are doing well and still follows the Celtics, but the Dodgers and the game itself make him tick.

All it took for Martin to become a lifelong Dodgers fan was a visit from a dear aunt from Brooklyn, N.Y.

“I had an aunt who was old enough to have lived in Brooklyn in 1955,” he explained. “I was maybe eight years old, whatever, and she was up here visiting during the 1955 World Series.

“She and her husband, who both lived in Brooklyn, they were  excited,” he said. “I didn’t know why. She said, “The Dodgers are on TV right now. She got me excited and I have been a Dodger fan ever since. 

“When they went to Los Angeles,” he added, “I followed them out there. I was talking to a guy at a grocery store (here.)  I have a COVID-19 mask that has Dodgers (on it). He said, “I used to be a Dodgers fan. I used to live in Brooklyn.’ He said: ‘They broke my heart when they moved.’”

A young Martin didn’t understand the implications after the Dodgers pulled up stakes and moved to the West Coast, but he remained a loyal fan in the Pine Tree State.

“I wasn’t old enough to be committed I guess,” he said. “When they moved, I moved right along with them. I have been a Brooklyn/Los Angeles fan since 1955.”

But the born-and-bred Mainer admitted he remains somewhat of a Red Sox fan.

“I do know that in 2004 (when Boston won its first World Series in 86 years) I was just as excited as everybody else,” he added. 

Martin has a long list of why he loves the Dodgers and has remained faithful for over six decades. 

“I like the tradition. I love the uniforms — they are best-looking uniforms in baseball,” he said. “I like, for the most part, the players on the team.”

He added that Dodger Stadium is a real gem and one of the best ballparks in Major League Baseball. He saw a four-game series in LA 10 years ago.

“My dad and I went to Los Angeles in 2009,” Martin Sherman recalled. “My dad had never to been to Dodger Stadium.”

They toured the stadium and Martin Sherman’s father began talking with the tour guide.

“At the beginning of the tour,” she said, “my dad had said to somebody, ‘You know I am a real fan.’ And they are all were like, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s what everybody says. My dad starts talking to the guy whose leading the tour. The guy comes up to me at the end of the tour. He’s like, ‘Your dad is REAL fan.’ He gave us great seats and field passes for the rest of our trip. My dad’s extreme fandom won us some real perks at Dodger Stadium.”

“We got to meet Dodger catcher Russell Martin on the field and talked about how we were all Martins.” 

Martin, who wears a Brooklyn Dodgers hat, circa 1928, all the time, said he has a modest collection of memorabilia. But his most prized position is 1947 to 1997 commemorative sleeves honoring Dodger great Jackie Robinson. He also has a signed Sandy Koufax poster on his wall.

“That’s one of the things that I especially like about the Dodgers, that they broke the color barrier,” Martin said. “I have been telling people for 50 years that Jackie Robinson was as important — maybe that’s hyperbole — as Martin Luther King. (Robinson’s) stature can’t be overstated.”

It is doubtful that Martin is the only Dodgers fan in Maine, but he is probably the most knowledgeable about the storied history of this team.

“I suppose you can call me a Dodger historian. I mean I must have 35 books on the Dodgers,” he said. “I have enough Dodger t-shirts to wear every single day for two weeks. 

“I am not only a Dodger fan,” he said. “I am a baseball fan. I think there’s a difference. I think a lot people in New England are Red Sox fans, but there not real baseball fans.”

As the Dodgers battle the Rays in the World Series, his daughters, Anne and Mary, won’t be there to watch the games with their father for one reason — the coronavirus.

“He’s been waiting for the Dodgers to win the series since 1988, and so this is a big week for our family,” Martin Sherman said in an email. “Also, his birthday is on Saturday. Unfortunately, my sister and I can’t be there to watch the games with him because of COVID-19, so he’s watching alone. We’re all cheering for the Dodgers for him.”

The Dodgers haven’t won a World Series crown since 1988, but Martin refuses to abandon his beloved team.

“Giving up on them? Be serious,” Martin said. “They can’t be real fans. That’s my opinion. I never even thought of giving up on them.”


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