Few people have had as much of an impact on Canadian baseball history than MLBbro catcher Russell Martin.


Born in Toronto, Ontario’s East York district to Russell Martin Sr, a Black Canadian and Suzanne Jeanson, a Franco-Manitoban woman, Martin’s journey from a kid baseball fan to an All-Star player with a 14-year career in Major League Baseball started in 1983.


Martin’s journey has been nothing short of remarkable. As the newest member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is welcomed, the trailblazer’s achievements go well beyond the diamond.

Born To Play Baseball 


Early in life, Martin developed a strong love for baseball and like every kid from Canada at the time, he played hockey. It soon became clear that he was talented and dedicated. 


He eventually earned a junior college scholarship to play at Chipola College in Florida. This decision was the turning point in Martin’s life that would eventually allow him to advance through the professional baseball ranks as a player.


Martin’s MLB career officially began in 2006 when he signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Throughout his remarkable career, he was a player for three teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Yankees, and Toronto Blue Jays. Martin was a vital member of every club he played for because of his versatility as a catcher as well as his solid offensive and defensive abilities.



Russell Martin Was Elite MLB Catcher


The Dodgers drafted Martin in the 17th round in 2002 and hit the ground running once he made the majors. Martin made All-Star teams in 2007 and 2008 with Los Angeles, adding both a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in 2007.


Martin had a unique combination of power and speed not often gained from the catcher’s position. He hit 19 home runs and stole 21 bases in his second year with the Dodgers. He finished his career with 191 home runs and 101 steals.


When he officially retired in 2022, he was one of only 21 players to total both 60 home runs and 60 stolen bases with the Dodgers, and he’s the only catcher of the group. Martin’s impact on the position and the strong respect he’s earned from his colleagues was a shining note on his resume. 



Martin’s influence extended beyond his own achievements. As a season catcher, he helped his clubs make repeated postseason trips and even get to the World Series as a player for the Yankees. Martin’s performance on the field cemented his place as one of the best Canadian players in baseball history.  He’s a four-time MLB All-Star and a Gold Glove winner. 


International Impact: Naylor Brothers 

Martin’s international impact is noteworthy. He’s helped inspire the next generation of Canadian baseball players. Major Leaguers like the Naylor Brothers; Josh, Bo and Myles, who are also from Ontario. Bo happens to be an athletic catcher in the mold of Martin. That next generation is already here. 

David Grubb

Cleveland Guardians star Josh Naylor is one of the elite first baseman/DH in the game and was selected 12th overall in the 2015 MLB Draft by the Marlins. His brother Bo Naylor, a catcher, was drafted 29th overall in the 2018 draft by Cleveland and made his debut in 2022.

Myles Naylor,18, is the baby of the bunch. The third baseman was drafted by the Oakland Athletics with the 39th overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft. He’s currently another rising MLBbro in the Athletics’ Single-A affiliate.


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. Martin was also chosen to participate in the 2009 World Baseball Classic for Canada. It was huge for that team to have an established Major Leaguer in the fold.  


Martin then made the commitment to compete for Team Canada as a shortstop in the World Baseball Classic in 2017. But knee surgery in the off-season prevented him from playing. In 2023, Martin was also a member of the coaching staff for Team Canada. He said “it’s like a brotherhood” representing his home country. 



Russell Martin Was Active In The Community 


Russell Martin has influenced many areas of society in addition to his on-field heroics. Martin has a charity poker tournament called “55 Poker Classic.” 


When working with the Jays Care Foundation, Martin was able to raise over $170,000. The funds will be used to continue building safe spaces and supporting organizations dedicated to improving the Canadian youth.


The honor of Martin’s election into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is a testament to his outstanding career, which was marked by leadership, excellence, and community service. His journey to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame from the neighborhood baseball diamonds in Ontario, makes him a genuine icon and symbol of baseball pride in Canada.



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