Russell Martin Inducted Into Canadian Baseball Hall Of Fame | The MLBbro Catcher Is Still Inspiring A New Generation

Russell Martin Inducted Into Canadian Baseball Hall Of Fame | The MLBbro Catcher Is Still Inspiring A New Generation

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.

 

 

Seattle Mariners Top Prospect Harry Ford Has It All | He’s A Tremendous MLBbro Catcher With Elite Leadership Qualities

Seattle Mariners Top Prospect Harry Ford Has It All | He’s A Tremendous MLBbro Catcher With Elite Leadership Qualities

Harry Ford Jr. gives great hope to the future and legacy of MLBbro catchers. He’s another in a long line of talented Black prospects that the Seattle Mariners organization has drafted over the years. The Mariners are coming off a 90-72 season which saw them make the playoffs for the first time since 2001. 

It was just their fifth postseason appearance in franchise history (47 seasons), with the bulk of those appearances coming in the mid-to-late 1990s during Ken Griffey Jr. and Randy “Big Unit” Johnson’s tenure. Last season’s ALDS loss wasn’t a total surprise as they did lose to the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros. In the end, it was a feeling these new-look Mariners hope to continue to have come late September and early October during the MLB season.

 

Dusty Baker Can Bring Back Two Things For The Houston Astros This Postseason…A Championship and Respect

 

Harry Ford Joins Julio Rodriguez As Another Future Cornerstone Piece

 

Led by 22-year-old slugger Julio Rodriguez and MLBbro Gold Glove shortstop JP Crawford, the “Emerald City” believes they’re here to stay, and baseball is once again a joy to watch. While Rodriguez signals the right now, first-round pick Harry Ford symbolizes the future. Very soon, their destinies will merge and together they will help lead the franchise. 

Ford, the Mariners’ No.1 ranked prospect is only 20, but the team believes he’ll be ready for a call-up in 2025. That’s pretty amazing considering he’s just two years removed from playing high school games.

 

Ford Has Shined At High-A Everett

 

Ford shined in his minor league season-opener, going 3-5 with three singles and two RBI in a come-from-behind extra innings 4-3 win. Most impressive was Ford’s ability to hit the baseball to all parts of the field. He also threw out a base runner showing his fielding prowess and strong arm.

 

 

Ford’s play caught the attention of Mariners’ director of player development Justin Toole, who told reporters this about the franchise’s top prospect.

“Harry’s athleticism was on full display, and you saw a little bit of everything he can do.”

This season Ford has a current slash line of .265/.446/.475 with three home runs 12 RBI and five stolen bases in 17 games. The No.46 prospect in MLB’s Pipeline hit 11 dingers with 65 RBI and also had thefts last season for Low-A Fresno, routinely flashing his power and elite base stealing prowess.

 

Ford Was Bro Bombing In WBC

 

While Great Britain didn’t make the WBC, it wasn’t for lack of effort by Ford, who bashed three homers and drove in eight runs during the qualifying rounds. His display of power and plate presence threw fear into opposing pitchers from all over the world.

 

 

That and his opening night performance drew more praise from Toole.

“There’s a lot to like about him as a player and a person,” Toole said. “And it was good to see all the work he’s been putting in show up on Opening Night. Really happy for him to get off to that kind of start.”

Ford has continued to play well, and it shouldn’t be long before he’s off to Double-A ball as the team ramps up his preparation to join the Mariners in early 2025, maybe even for Opening Day.

“Harry Is A Unique Five-Tool Player Since He Is A Catcher” | Seattle Mariners Hyped About 2021 Top Pick Harry Ford

“Harry Is A Unique Five-Tool Player Since He Is A Catcher” | Seattle Mariners Hyped About 2021 Top Pick Harry Ford

The Seattle Mariners are in the thick of a playoff push sitting at 76-59 with the third-best record in the American League behind the Houston Astros and New York Yankees. Led by rookie slugger Julio Rodriguez and MLBbro shortstop JP Crawford things in the Pacific Northwest are looking up.

The Mariners seem to be in good position to be pretty formidable for years to come. The team’s farm system keeps producing gems. In 2021, the franchise drafted Harry Ford with their first pick of the amateur draft and 12th pick overall. Ford is a hard-hitting catcher whose skillet has been likened to that of former Houston Astros legend and Baseball Hall of Famer, Craig Biggio.

 

Mariners Brass Was All-In On Ford

 Ford has the unique distinction of being the first high school player selected during GM Jerry Diputo’s regime. Prior to the draft, Diputo, his assistant GM Justin Hollander and the team’s amateur director of scouting Scott Hunter flew to Atlanta to watch the North Cobb High School stud workout for them. Ford dazzled with an effortless swing and more than adequate throwing arm. The trio knew then he was what they wanted in the upcoming draft. When asked about the trip across the country to see Ford up close, Diputo said this.

 “Very much worth it.”

 “Harry is a unique five-tool player since he is a catcher. A tremendous athlete that will thrive in all areas of the game. Even though he could play centerfield or even second base we see Harry as a catcher that has a chance to impact the game with not only his bat and defense, but also with his legs as he is a plus runner. We couldn’t be more thrilled to add an athlete like this to our system.”

  

 That was the Mariners brass displaying the excitement of drafting Ford as their future catcher. In a league where Black players are slim pickings, Black catchers are even more rare. 

 Ford Showed Well In Limited Action In 2021: Continued In 2022

 Ford hit the road running once he joined the team for 19 games in the Arizona Complex League. While he struggled a bit, as expected he still persevered and worked out the kinks. This season he joined Low-A Modesto of the California. There he joined two other Mariners prospects in pitcher Michael Morales and shortstop Edwin Arroyo. Those three make up some of the core of the future for the Mariners. With Ford having the highest upside in most scout’s view.

 While Ford missed time with a sore shoulder, when he got healthy, he hit a respectable (.272), with three home runs, 16 RBIs. He also had as many walks (21) as strikeouts (18).

 

Ford has plenty of time to develop as the Mariners have placed an arrival date of 2025 for their prized prospect. Over the next few seasons his development will be huge for the Mariners. Ford has all the tools to be an All-Star caliber catcher in the majors, and the belief is he will be.

Cincinatti Reds Catcher Chuckie Robinson Ushers In The Return Of The Black Backstop

Cincinatti Reds Catcher Chuckie Robinson Ushers In The Return Of The Black Backstop

Chuckie Robinson is the newest Black catcher in Major League Baseball.  The Danville, Illinois native and former 21st round pick now has the chance to represent a position that was once rich in our culture.

Chuckie Robinson was born to be a catcher.

His father Charles Robinson Jr. caught in the Minors for the Royals and Cubs while his grandfather spent time as a catcher in the White Sox system.

 

 

Monday night Robinson hit his first career home run after battling back from an 0-2 count.

“I hit it and I knew it was out,” Robinson told reporters after the game.  “I kinda blacked out.  I had to battle back and just got my pitch and handled it.”

 

 

A native of Robinson’s hometown which has a population around 30,000 was in the left field stands of Great American Ballpark and caught his home run ball. It turns out Robinson knew the family and they were able to get the ball to his mother who was watching her son play in the Majors for the first time.

Black people currently make up less than 8% of Major League Baseball players according to a study done in June on MLB Player Demographics.

That percentage has climbed a little over recent years, although not by much. Despite the low numbers, our culture has had a profound impact on the sport particularly during this season where we are witnesses to Aaron Judge’s chase of the home run record, pitcher Triston McKenzie dominating the Majors top offensive lineups and even the All-Star Game where Giancarlo Stanton and Byron Buxton carried the American League to victory with game winning homers.

However, it has been almost 20 years since we have seen a productive Black catcher in the Majors.

Charles Johnson Is The Last Notable Black Catcher, But He Wasn’t The First

 

The most recent was Charles Johnson who was drafted in the first round by the then Florida Marlins in 1992. He won four consecutive Gold Gloves from 1995-1998. When the Marlins won the World Series in 1997, Johnson had a perfect fielding percentage of 1.000.

Other historic Black catchers include Hall of Famer and three-time National League MVP Roy Campanella who was the first Black catcher in Major League Baseball’s modern era and 12-time All-Star Elston Howard who was the first MLBbro in Yankees history. 

The catcher position is a lot like the quarterback in football: You have to control the game and fight harder on the mental side a bit more than the physical.

It is enjoyable watching players run down fly balls and make spectacular grabs, or even dominate in the infield like recent Gold Glove winners J.P. Crawford and Marcus Semien, but it is refreshing to finally see a MLBbro behind the plate.

This weekend Robinson and his Reds welcome the Colorado Rockies to Cincinnati for a three-game series.