Wed, May

Keith "Jumbo" Martin

JUMBO was described as an iconic figure by many, after news spread of the death of the popular nutsman.

Jumbo, born Keith Martin, was a colourful character at sporting events. The Queen’s Park Oval and the Hasely Crawford Stadium were two venues where he sold his peanuts.

Jumbo had a unique way of selling his peanuts. He would have two or three assistants positioned in different spots in the crowd and would throw a pack of peanuts to them to give to the customer. His throws were rarely off-target.

He did not only sell peanuts, but would belt out advice to athletes on the field.

Newsday spoke to secretary of Queen’s Park Cricket Club Colin Murray and flagman Joey Richardson at the Oval on Thursday, during a cricket match between T&T Red Force and Windward Islands Volcanoes in the West Indies Four-Day Championships.

“When you think of Trinidad and Tobago, you think of Jumbo. He is that kind of character,” Murray said.

Murray said famous English commentator Henry Blofeld was once confused when he saw Jumbo selling peanuts.

Blofeld "was commentating on the game…and all of a sudden he blurted out to his co-commentator and said, ‘What is that missile being thrown from the bottom of the stands to the top?’ He could not understand what it was.”

Blofeld’s concerns were quickly addressed as he was told they were packs of peanuts. .

“Jumbo is unique –you talk about colourful characters? He is going to be missed, because he was Trini to the bone in terms of support for T&T, and he loved sport and he loved being involved,” Murray said.

Murray remembered when QPCC gave a plaque to Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar during a match at the Oval last year. The song pays tribute to Gavaskar, who scored heavily in a Test series against West Indies in the Caribbean in the early 1970s.

During the presentation on the field, Jumbo was singing Lord Relator’s calypso Gavaskar from the stands.

After the presentation, Gavaskar chatted with Jumbo.

Richardson said, “I feel sad to know that one of our icons who has been around like me…has passed.”

Richardson said Jumbo collected the uniforms of star cricketers.

“He is one of the guys from Trinidad that met all the international players that came here. He has kits from all of them. From Sachin Tendulkar, (Virat) Kohli and even Gavaskar…he will be missed.”

He would give the cricketers pointers on the field, including the fast bowlers, Richardson said.

“Always in the stands, with a loud voice saying, ‘Line and length.’”

Jumbo was not the only nutsman known as a character.

Richardson said, “He had nice rivalry between him and the other nutsmen, especially him and Nuts Landing.”

Richardson said Nuts Landing would say Jumbo’s peanuts crashed like jumbo jet planes, but his peanuts landed safely.

T&T men’s senior football coach and former national footballer Angus Eve also paid tribute to Jumbo. Speaking during a media conference on March 14, Eve said, “Jumbo, one of the best 12th men we have ever had, passed away this morning. I want to send condolences to his family…he will be greatly missed.”

SOURCE: T&T Newsday