Cassie Martin (unknown birth – unknown death), an amateur and semi-professional basketball women player of the 1930s. Martin was the mainstay of some of the great women teams in Chicago during the 1930s, notably the Taylor Trunks and Spencer Coals, both ranked among the most famous women's teams in the history of women's basketball.
Cassie Martin (born Catherine Martin) developed as a basketball player in Danville, Illinois. In December of 1929 when she joined the Taylor Trunks, the paper reported she had played the previous ten years in Danville. Martin entered the team with a huge impact, becoming a forward starter immediately and a leading scorer.
Martin in the fall of 1932 left the Trunks and joined the Spencer Coals, coached by Mark Singer. The Coals were formed by Singer with three players from his previous team, the Charles V. Barrett Girls, and recruited players Martin and Anne Goldstein (from the Jewish People's Institute Girls). The Spencer Coals won their games throughout the season, until they met their first setback on April 9, 1933, when the Six Point Co-eds beat them 26-22 for the Central States AAU women’s basketball title. Martin was a key player in helping the Coals avenge the loss less than two weeks later, narrowly defeating the Six Point Co-eds for the Central AAU championship, 42-40. The Spencer Coals ended the season with a 60-2 record, and Martin was a huge part of it.
Sometime in the 1933-34 season, Martin had moved to a new team, the Great Northern Debutantes, which consisted of some former Taylor Trunks players who needed a new home after the Taylor Trunks had disbanded in early 1934. Martin was not enough for the Debutantes in the Central AAU tournament, losing the championship game to the Spencer Coals by an embarrassing score of 40-20. Both teams went on to Wichita, Kansas, to compete for the National AAU “Tomboy” championship, a men's rules competition held simultaneously with the National AAU women’s championship under women’s rules. The Spencer Coals won the "Tomboy" title; the results of the Dubatantes' games in the tournament are unknown.
In the 1934-35 season, Martin joined a brand new team, the Hart Motor Girls, formed by a car dealership who had sponsored a national champion women's softball team in the summer of 1934. The starting five for the team were Martin, along with Marion and Mercedes DeSutter, Natalie Young, and Lorraine “Babe” Sisk.” Martin helped propel the team to the top ranks of women amateur competition in Chicago, but the team could never defeat any of the top teams. Hart Motors made it to the semi-finals of the prestigious American Tournament, but was eliminated by an embarrassing score of 24 to 9 to the Andy Frain Usherettes, the eventual champions of the meet.
In the 1935-36 season, Martin rejoined her old coach, Mark Singer, and played for the T. J. Bowlers, which was a continuation of the Spencer Coals under different sponsorship. Martin joined a formidable team with Lillian and Mabel Rozhon, Anne Goldstein (now Gomberg), Julia Stluka, Marge Quilter, Rae Levine, Betty Reidl, Ione Murphey, Dorothy Dennison, and Hazel Kelfstrom. In April of 1936, ten players of the T. J. Bowlers team, including Martin, were banned by the Central AAU, on the grounds that Coach Mark Singer used ineligible players, notably Anne Goldstein, who was working as physical education director (and therefore deemed a professional).
The T. J. Bowlers had their eligibility restored for the 1936-37 season, and Martin was valuable to the team in its competition in the Windy City League, a league of industrial and club teams—amateur and probably semi-pro—where the women’s amateur games would open the men’s semi-pro games. The team did well during the season, and when they were eliminated in the semi-finals by the Queen Anne Aces in the American Tournament, 19-17, it was considered an upset. The team was essentially the Spencer Coals of a couple of years earlier, with such former Coals besides Martin, that included Anne Goldstein, Lillian Rozhon, Ione Murphey, and Rae Levine.
The 1936-37 season with T. J. Bowlers appeared to be Martin’s last in the amateur women basketball wars of the 1930s. Her legacy was that of one of the great women basketball players during the golden years of women amateur competition in the Depression years.