Canadian-born Russell Martin brings some of the warmest heart and most perseverant soul to our favourite Toronto Blue Jays. His confident calls behind the plate, intelligent read of the unfolding game play, and ever-improving appearances at bat are just a few well-known reasons he is deserving of Toronto’s love. Let’s explore just six more:
1) Simply put, he’s a good guy. While on the field, he is a constantly encouraging presence in the game. He keeps a positive attitude, regardless of controversial calls or game adversity. He makes clear, thoughtful calls, and works well with every pitcher with whom in the Jays’ rotation. Off the field, he is highly involved in the Jays Care Foundation, using involvement in baseball as a way to create meaningful social change for children across Canada. Additionally, he is a strong supporter of ONE DROP, an organization active in providing sustainable safe drinking water for communities across the world.
2) He’s musical! And who doesn’t love a musician? His father, Russell Martin Sr., is an extraordinarily talented jazz musician who has spent many years drawing his income as a beloved Montreal Metro saxophonist. His mother, Suzanne Jeanson, has an impressively beautiful singing voice of her own. Martin seems to have inherited a combination of these talents. In an article by SportsNet’s Stephen Brunt, Jeanson proudly describes her son as a talented drummer who plays a bit of guitar and loves to sing karaoke. I don’t know about you, but in the off-season, I’d love to hit up a karaoke bar with Mr. Martin…
3) He can do a handstand. Don’t believe me? Check out @russellmartin55 on Instagram.
4) He supports his family as much as they support him. Though he did not live with his mother while engaged in his intensive baseball training, he never fails to credit and thank her for her assistance with tuition and her undying support as he worked toward his lifelong dream. When Martin speaks about his father, his adoration is clear. One of the proudest moments of his life was listening to his father play the national anthem at Dodger Stadium. In a beautifully written personal essay for Guideposts, Martin remembers the “awe and indescribable pride” he felt listening to his father play the anthem as they stood “on the brilliant green grass of Dodger Stadium, sharing one dream together”.
5) The man has quite a name. Russell Martin Jeanson Coltrane Martin Jr. As someone who has grown up with four names instead of the conventional three, I have immense appreciation for the struggles he has undoubtedly faced while filling out official paperwork. There are never enough boxes.
6ix) His perseverance is inspiring. Just take a look back to the beginning of this season. He had a rough start, striking out in record numbers. But, rather than falling into a pattern of discouraging defeat, he made changes to his batting approach and has come back with a new level of strength and fire. Looking beyond this season, it is easy to see the deep roots of his perseverant nature. While he displayed exciting promise at the young age of two, catching a ball his father had tossed across the living room after just two bounces, nothing was just given to our Russell Martin. In the aforementioned Guideposts essay, Martin remembers his father telling him, “You want to be a ballplayer, you’re going to have to earn it… You’re not a big guy. Nobody’s going to hand you anything. You’re going to have to work, work, work. And believe”.
With the loving support of his parents, an inner hunger for success, and through many intensive practice drills with his father, Martin did just that, using blood, sweat, and tears to pave the way to his unquestionably deserved spot behind the plate with our Toronto Blue Jays.
Featured image courtesy of TheStar.com.
Brunt, Stephen. “How Far Can Russell Martin Carry The Blue Jays?.” SportsNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Aug. 2016.
Jays Care Foundation. Toronto Blue Jays, n.d. Web. 9 Aug. 2016.
Martin Jr., Russell. “Russell Martin, Jr. Celebrates His Dad, the Saxophone Man.” Guideposts. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Aug. 2016.
ONE DROP. ONE DROP, n.d. Web. 9 Aug. 2016.
The Official Site of Russell Martin. MLB, n.d. Web. 9 Aug. 2016.