Marv Goodwin

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Marv Goodwin
Marvin Goodwin newspaper.png
Born: (1891-01-16)January 16, 1891
Gordonsville, Virginia
Died: October 21, 1925(1925-10-21) (aged 34)
Houston, Texas
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 7, 1916, for the Washington Senators
Last MLB appearance
October 4, 1925, for the Cincinnati Reds
MLB statistics
Win–loss record21–25
Earned run average3.30

Marvin Mardo Goodwin (January 16, 1891 – October 21, 1925), was a professional baseball player who was a pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1916 to 1925. He would play for the Washington Senators, St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds. Goodwin was known for throwing the spitball, and he was one of the 17 pitchers allowed to continue throwing the pitch after it was outlawed in 1920. Goodwin was a pilot in World War I, and died after the war from injuries sustained in a training flight while a member of the Army Air Service Reserve. He is believed to have been the first professional athlete killed as a result of a plane crash.[1]

Early life[edit]

Goodwin was born and raised in Gordonsville, Virginia, and graduated from high school there. He attended college for two years in New London, Connecticut, and later took a position as a telegraph operator with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. Goodwin became an established baseball star with the semipro team in his hometown, and the railroad agreed to give him time off when he was offered a contract by the Washington Senators in 1916.[2]

Baseball career before World War I[edit]

In 1916, Goodwin pitched for the Martinsburg Blue Sox of the Class D Blue Ridge League, starting and completing 31 games with a record of 19–12, with 10 shutouts. His major league debut came in September of that year, when he appeared 3 times in relief for Washington, pitching ​5 23 innings and giving up two earned runs.[2]

Goodwin started the 1917 season with the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association, and compiled a record of 8–9 with a 1.91 ERA, before being acquired by the St. Louis Cardinals in July. With the Cardinals his record for the season was 6–4 with a 2.21 ERA.[2]

Military service during World War I[edit]

In December 1917, Goodwin joined the United States Army. Being unmarried and with no dependents, he told the Cardinals he was sure to be drafted, so he enlisted in order to join the aviation corps. He was stationed in Texas, where he successfully completed his training, and became an aviation instructor. He was preparing to deploy to France when the war ended in November 1918.[3]

Baseball career after World War I[edit]

After the war, Goodwin rejoined the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1919 his record was 11–9 with a 2.51 ERA, and in 1920 his record was 3–8 with a 4.95 ERA. For 1921 and 1922 he split time between the Cardinals and their farm club, the Houston Buffaloes of the Texas League, and then spent all of the 1923 and 1924 seasons with Houston. In May 1924, Goodwin became player-manager of the Houston club, a role he continued through the next season. Late in the 1925 season he was sold to the Cincinnati Reds; he appeared in four games for the Reds, compiling a 0–2 record with a 4.79 ERA. His final major league appearance came on the final day of the season, when he pitched a complete game in the first half of a doubleheader, but lost 4–2.[2][4]


Marv Goodwin
Place of burial
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army Air Service
Years of service1917–1925
RankFirst Lieutenant
UnitArmy Air Service Reserve
Battles/warsWorld War I

Two weeks after his final appearance with the Reds, Goodwin crash landed his airplane at Ellington Field on October 18, 1925. The accident occurred during a training exercise when he was performing reserve duty with the United States Army Air Service. Goodwin experienced a tailspin about 200 feet (61 meters) in the air. He was hospitalized with serious injuries including two broken legs. His piloting skills were credited with saving him from immediate death.[5] Goodwin died on October 21, 1925, from the injuries he sustained three days earlier.[2]


As noted by The Sporting News, "Marvin was a gentleman and an athlete of whom baseball can be proud... Lieutenant Goodwin sacrificed his life in behalf of his country. No person can do more."[2] Goodwin is buried in Maplewood Cemetery in his hometown of Gordonsville.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mitchell, Houston (September 7, 2011). "Notable athletes who have died in plane crashes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Faber, Charles. "SABR Baseball Biography Project: Marv Goodwin". Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Marvin Goodwin, 'The Gentleman of Gordonsville'". The Baseball Bloggess. September 11, 2016. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  4. ^ "Retrosheet Boxscore: Pittsburgh Pirates 4, Cincinnati Reds 2 (1)". Retrosheet. Retrieved 7 Oct 2016.
  5. ^ "Pitcher Hurt in Plane Crash". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. October 19, 1925.

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