Look back at the Russell Martin Dodger career via TRUEBLUELA archives
The rise and fall of Russell Martin’s Dodger career came just as Dodger blog www.truebluela was beginning to ascend into relevancy. Andrew Grant headed the blog when Russell Martin became the starting catcher in May of 2006 but the first article he wrote about Martin didn’t come until Aug 25th, 2006.
Andrew was concerned with the workload being placed upon the rookie. It was a concern that would come up every season that Martin was the Dodgers starting catcher.
Eric took a look at what arbitration might hold for Russell Martin
The Dodgers have a wonderful dilemma. Their quandary is to figure out just what to pay their most rare commodity: a young, all-star catcher in Russell Martin. Unlike the relatively straightforward cases of Andre Ethier and Jonathan Broxton — in which comparable players can be researched and a rough idea about salary can be deduced — Russell Martin is a very unique player. His comparable players aren’t really comparable at all due to very different circumstances.
Martin has set himself apart as a leader of this club. He took over as the team’s union player representative — from Scott Proctor!!! — so he’s capable of handling extra responsibilities. He’s got a new girlfriend. He’s doing Yoga. He’s one of the best catchers in baseball.
I was wondering what had happened to the young catcher who by the all-star game of 2008 appeared headed for greatness.
During the spring of 2008 I mentioned that I thought Russell Martin could be a leading candidate for the MVP. My rational was that Martin was loved by the media, the best player on the Dodgers, and that the Dodgers might win the pennant. At the all-star game Martin was holding up his end of the bargain and I wrote this story about the great tradition of Dodger catchers after watching Martin display his all around skills in the all star game by catching 10 innings in the epic battle.
By May 18th, 2009 Russell Martin had yet to hit a home run so for fun I started a community contest. Shockingly he would not hit his first home run until June 20th. None of the entrants picked June.
Russell Martin seemed prime to join the pantheon of great Dodger catchers. In his first three seasons, he made two All-Star teams, won a Silver Slugger award, and even mixed in a Gold Glove for good measure. Nobody has caught more innings than Martin since he made his debut in May 2006, and from 2006-2008 Martin had the fifth-highest OPS+ among all catchers in baseball.
Did you know that before the Dodgers drafted Russell Martin in the 17th round of the 2002 draftas an infielder, the Montreal Expos of his native Quebec also drafted him as an infielder in the 35th round of the 2000 draft?
Eric Stephen – May 20th, 2010 – Martin Sets Club Record for Leadoff Starts at Catcher
Russell Martin will set the LA Dodger record tonight for most starts batting leadoff by a catcher, with 34. Paul LoDuca is the only other Dodger catcher to bat leadoff in the last 52 years. Since 1952, only three catchers have started more games batting leadoff than Martin: Jason Kendall (453), Butch Wynegar (48), and Craig Biggio (35).
This was Eric looking back on Jan 11, 2010 at the Bush Years. Martin was a predominant piece of those teams and he gets more than a few sentences.
Martin had a fine season, establishing himself as one of the best catchers in the game, hitting .293/.374/.469, a 113 OPS+. He fell one HR shy of becoming only the second catcher ever with a 20/20 season (Ivan Rodriguez, 1999). Martin’s 21 SB were the most ever by a Dodger catcher.