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Russell Martin

Russell Martin

New York Yankees – No. 55
Born: (1983-02-15) February 15, 1983 (age 29)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Bats: Right Throws: Right 
MLB debut
May 5, 2006 for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Career statistics
(through July 4, 2012)
Batting average     .261
Home runs     80
Runs batted in     386
Stolen bases     75
Career highlights and awards

Russell Nathan Jeanson Coltrane Martin, Jr (born February 15, 1983) is a Canadian Major League Baseball (MLB) catcher for the New York Yankees. Prior to joining the Yankees in 2011, he played for the Los Angeles Dodgers (2006–2010). He is a three-time MLB All-Star (2007, 2008, 2011). In 2007, he won the Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger Award.

Martin became the everyday catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers immediately upon his MLB debut in 2006, and continued in that role for nearly 5 years. His offensive and defensive performance earned wide accolades during his first three years, but they diminished significantly in 2009 and 2010 and Martin spent the last two months of 2010 on the disabled list. After the Dodgers declined to raise his salary, he signed with the Yankees for less than the Dodgers had offered him and succeeded Jorge Posada as the Yankees' everyday catcher.


  Early life

Martin was born in Toronto, Ontario.[1] He grew up in Chelsea, Quebec and lived in Paris, France from the age of 8–10.[2] Martin has an African Canadian father, Russell Martin Sr., and a white, French Canadian mother, singer and actress, Suzanne Jeanson. His parents separated when he was only two years old.[3] His father used to play saxophone in Montreal subway stations to help pay for his baseball training.[3] When Martin was eight years old, his mother remarried, and he relocated with his mother and sister to Paris.[4]

Along with playing baseball in the Montreal neighborhood of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Martin played hockey for N.D.G Minor Hockey. He graduated from Polyvalente Édouard-Montpetit High School.[3] After graduating from high school, Martin took a junior college scholarship at Chipola College in Marianna, Florida.[2]

  Playing career

  Los Angeles Dodgers

  Minor leagues

The Los Angeles Dodgers selected Martin in the 17th round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft.[3] Martin was originally a third baseman before switching to catcher after a scout saw him playing for the Gulf Coast Dodgers in Rookie Ball and thought he showed more promise in that position.[3][5] Martin was a Florida State League All-Star catcher while with the Vero Beach Dodgers in 2004 and Baseball America 2nd Team Minor League All-Star and Southern League All-Star while with the Jacksonville Suns in 2005.[citation needed]

  Major leagues

  Martin in spring 2007

Martin was promoted to the Dodgers on May 5, 2006, after a wrist injury to starting catcher Dioner Navarro.[5] He got two hits, including a double, in the game. His first hit was against Chris Capuano. On May 7, he hit his first major league home run against Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Dave Bush. On June 6, 2006, Martin and Éric Gagné made baseball history by becoming the first French Canadian battery in the majors.[6] Martin's play was good enough that, on June 26, 2006, Navarro was traded to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.[5][7] On August 13, 2006, Martin hit his first career walk-off home run in a victory that completed a sweep of the rival San Francisco Giants.[8] On September 18, 2006, Martin hit a solo home run off of Trevor Hoffman, the third of four consecutive home runs in the bottom of the 9th inning to tie the San Diego Padres, it was the first time four home runs have been hit in a row since the 1964 Minnesota Twins.[9]

On April 21, 2007, Martin hit a walk-off grand slam against Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Shawn Chacon in the bottom of the 10th inning. This was the first grand slam of his career.[10]

In May 2007, Martin broke the Dodgers' franchise record for single-season steals by a catcher (12) set by John Roseboro in 1962.[11] On July 1 it was announced that Martin finished in first place in All-Star Game voting, leading Paul Lo Duca by 296,948 votes. He became the first ever Canadian born catcher to start the All-Star Game.[12]

At the end of the 2007 season, he was awarded with the National League Gold Glove Award and the Silver Slugger award.[13][14]

  Martin with the Dodgers in 2008

On May 2, 2008, Martin started his first game at third base since reaching the Majors, allowing veteran backup Gary Bennett to spell Martin behind the plate.[15] Martin made his second all-star game during the 2008 season.[16] He caught 10 innings of a 15 inning game in which the American League won 4 to 3.[17] Martin's 10 innings caught are tied for fourth place all time among all star catchers in a single game.

On January 20, 2009, Martin signed a one-year, $3.9 million contract to avoid salary arbitration. The deal was the largest ever awarded to a catcher in his first year of arbitration.[18] He played for the Canadian team during the 2009 World Baseball Classic and then rejoined the Dodgers. He slumped offensively in 2009, hitting only .250 with 7 home runs in 143 games, the weakest totals in his four year career.

In 2010, Martin's numbers continued to regress as he hit .248 with 5 home runs and 26 RBI in 97 games. In August, Martin suffered a torn labrum in his right hip when he was trying to avoid a tag at home plate in a game against the Padres. The injury kept him sidelined for the rest of the season.[19]

Due to his uncertain recovery from injury and declining production, and concern that Martin would be awarded a salary as high as $6 million in arbitration, the Dodgers did not tender Martin a contract for 2011 and allowed him to become a free agent.[20] The Dodgers offered Martin a one-year contract worth $4.2 million prior to the arbitration hearings but he insisted on receiving well above $5 million.[21] After Martin rebuffed the Dodgers' offer, the Dodgers non-tendered him and signed journeyman catcher Rod Barajas, though hinting that Martin could still have a place on the team. Martin said the Dodgers had shown by avoiding arbitration that they no longer "believed in" him.[22]

  New York Yankees

Martin agreed to a $6 million guaranteed one-year contract with the New York Yankees for the 2011 season. The value of the contract could reach $9.4 million if he caught 110 games.[23][24]

Martin began the 2011 season as the everyday catcher for the Yankees. He was elected to the 2011 American League All-Star team as a Yankee.

Along with Robinson Canó and Curtis Granderson, Martin was one of the Yankees' three batters who hit an MLB record three grand slams in a single game in a 22–9 rout of the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium on August 25, 2011.

In January of 2012, Martin then agreed in principle to a $7.5 million one-year contract with the New York Yankees.

  Personal life

Martin's full name is Russell Nathan Jeanson Coltrane Martin, Jr. Russell is from his father (Russell Martin Sr.), Nathan is from his great-grandfather, Jeanson is the maiden name of his mother (Suzanne), and Coltrane is also from his dad to pay homage to John Coltrane.[5]

Martin changed the name printed on his jersey to "J. Martin" for the 2009 season in reference to one of his middle names "Jeanson", in honor of his mother.[25]

In an effort to quit the use of chewing tobacco, Martin began wearing a custom-fitted mouthpiece during the 2009 World Baseball Classic and Spring Training.[26]


  1. ^ "Russell Martin MLB Baseball profile". Sportsline. http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/players/playerpage/483767. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  2. ^ a b "The Official Site of The Los Angeles Dodgers: Team: Player Information". MLB.com. http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=431145. Retrieved 2007-09-15. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Kelly, Cathal (2007-06-09). "Catching the fast train to L.A. - Montreal resident Martin solid behind plate for Dodgers". The Star. http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/223500. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  4. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/sports/baseball/russell-martin-plays-catcher-the-toughest-position-in-baseball.html?_r=4&hp&pagewanted=all
  5. ^ a b c d "Russell Martin achieves stardom in second big-league season". Sporting News. 2007-06-14. http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?p=2093845. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  6. ^ "Mets vs. Dodgers — Box Score — June 6, 2006". ESPN. 2006-06-06. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/boxscore?gameId=260606119. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  7. ^ "ESPN — Dioner Navarro Stats, News, Photos, - Tampa Bay Rays". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/news?playerId=5902. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  8. ^ "Giants vs. Dodgers — Box Score — August 13, 2006". ESPN. 2006-08-13. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/boxscore?gameId=260813119. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  9. ^ "Padres vs. Dodgers — Recap — September 18, 2006". ESPN. 2006-09-18. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=260918119. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  10. ^ "Pirates vs. Dodgers — Recap — April 21, 2007". ESPN. 2007-04-21. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=270421119. Retrieved 2008-04-16. "Martin's walk-off grand slam sends Dodgers past Pirates" 
  11. ^ GoBlue1324 (2007-12-27). "2008 Fantasy Baseball: Catchers". Sporting News. http://www.sportingnews.com/blog/GoBlue1324/126640/. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  12. ^ Spencer, Lyle (2007-07-11). "Dodgers take All-Star Game by storm". MLB.com. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070710&content_id=2079849&vkey=allstar2007&fext=.jsp. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  13. ^ "The Official Site of Major League Baseball: History: MLB Awards". MLB.com. http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/awards/mlb_awards_content.jsp?content=silver_slugger_history. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  14. ^ "Maddux wins record 17th Gold Glove". Sporting News. 2007-11-06. http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?p=2643130. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  15. ^ "The Official Site of The Los Angeles Dodgers: News: Martin starts at hot corner". MLB.com. 2008-05-02. http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080502&content_id=2627891&vkey=news_la&fext=.jsp&c_id=la. Retrieved 2008-09-02. 
  16. ^ Gurnick, Ken (2008-07-06). "Martin gets second straight All-Star nod". MLB.com. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080706&content_id=3075611&vkey=allstar2008&fext=.jsp. Retrieved 2011-09-12. 
  17. ^ Hoch, Bryan (2008-07-16). "Night is Young: AL walks off in 15th". MLB.com. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/gameday_recap.jsp?ymd=20080715&content_id=3137808&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb. Retrieved 2008-09-02. 
  18. ^ Source: Dodgers give Martin 1-year, $3.9M deal. Retrieved on 2009-01-20.
  19. ^ By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com (2010-07-22). "Dodgers' Martin likely done for season". Losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com. http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100804&content_id=13037528&vkey=news_la&fext=.jsp&c_id=la. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  20. ^ December 2, 2010  (2010-12-02). "Dodgers elect to non-tender Russell Martin; reach deal with Rod Barajas". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dodgers/2010/12/dodgers-elect-to-non-tender-russell-martin.html. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  21. ^ December 14, 2010  (2010-12-14). "Russell Martin's sad fade to black as a Dodger: catcher reportedly signs with Yankees". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dodgers/2010/12/the-fade-to-black-for-russell-martin-as-a-dodger-catcher-reportedly-signs-with-yankees.html. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  22. ^ December 16, 2010  (2010-12-16). "Russell Martin: I wanted to see if the Dodgers still believed in me". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dodgers/2010/12/russell-martin-i-wanted-to-see-if-the-dodgers-still-believed-in-me.html. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  23. ^ "Report: Martin signs with Yankees | The Lohud Yankees Blog". Yankees.lhblogs.com. 2010-12-14. http://yankees.lhblogs.com/2010/12/14/report-martin-signs-with-yankees/. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  24. ^ "Source: New York Yankees sign catcher Russell Martin — ESPN New York". Sports.espn.go.com. 2010-12-15. http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/news/story?id=5918751. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  25. ^ Gurnick, Ken (2009-01-29). "Martin changes name, attitude for '09". MLB.com. http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090129&content_id=3784288&vkey=news_la&fext=.jsp&c_id=la. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  26. ^ Ken Gurnick (12 March 2009). "Tobacco-free Martin rejoins Dodgers". http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090312&content_id=3976480&vkey=news_la&fext=.jsp&c_id=la. Retrieved 13 March 2009. 

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