Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Meet A Prospect : Russell Martin Edition

Russell Martin is in his second season as the Yankees starting catcher after being acquired via free agency from the Los Angeles Dodgers. I liked writing this one more then I did a lot of the previous ones because he did not come up and have success with the Yankees like Cano, Pettitte, Rivera, etc. He also is in the National League that I, admittedly, do not pay enough attention to unlike Curtis Granderson who played in the American League and that I got to see often. This was an actual learning experience for me while writing this so I actually really enjoyed meeting Russell Martin... and I hope that you do too.

Russell Nathan Jeanson Coltrane Martin, Jr (you can say that again) was born on February 15th, 1983 in East York, Ontario Canada. Russel got his name from his father Russell, his great grandfather Nathan, his mother's maiden name Jeanson, and from his dad paying homage to John Coltrane.  He grew up in Chelsea, Quebec and lived in Paris, France for three years (ages 8-10). Russell was born from an African Canadian father, Russel Sr, and a white French Canadian mother, Suzanne Jeanson. His parents separated when he was only two years old.

Russell's father used to play the saxophone to pay for Russell's baseball training classes inside of the Montreal subway systems. Russell ended up playing both baseball and hockey and showed definite signs of athleticism while playing hockey in high school. After graduating high school, the same high school as Dodgers closer Eric Gagne, Russel went to a junior college at Chipola College in Marianna , Florida on a scholarship.

The Los Angeles Dodgers selected Russel Martin in the 17th round of the 2002 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft as a third basemen. Russell did not start playing catcher until a scout saw him playing in the Gulf Coast League for the Dodgers in rookie ball and thought he showed a lot of promise there. Apparently that scout was right because as a catcher Martin was a Florida State League all star catcher with the Vero Beach Dodgers in 2004 and Baseball America 2nd team Minor League All Star and Southern League all star in his 2004 season.

Martin was promoted to the Dodger in May of 2006 after a wrist injury side lined Dioner Navarro. In his major league debut he got two hits, including a double.  In June of that same season Martin and Eric Gagne made baseball history by becoming the first French Canadian pair in the majors. Martin was also the first ever French Canadian born catcher to be in an All Star game when he finished first place in the voting in the 2007 season. He added a gold glove and a silver slugger in that same 2007 season for the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Russell signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees for the 2011 season and was immediately named an all star catcher that season. He also was included with Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson in the record making game against the Oakland Athletics where the Yankees hit three grand slams in a single game for the first time EVER in a 22-9 route. Russell Martin will be a free agent after the 2012 season and if he continues with the bat and his excellent defense behind the plate and I can see him being a Yankee for a very long time.

Make sure to tune in tomorrow when we continue our special edition's of Meet A Prospect when we meet Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira!

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)