Across Two Counties, Two Leagues, and Four Teams, Russell Martin Is The Key To Reaching The Playoffs

In his ten years in the Major Leagues, Russell Martin has played with four different teams. Unbelievably, all four of them reached the postseason. His current team, the Blue Jays, are among the preseason favorites to win the American League pennant this year.No other active player has come close to that kind of track record, let alone anyone with such an important position in the field. As a catcher, Martin is the key link between the infielders, outfielders and pitchers.In addition to his defensive and leadership prowess, Martin has also contributed on the offensive end. He has a career hitting percentage of.256 while averaging 18 home runs and 77 runs batted in per season. What is even rarer for a catcher is the fact that Martin averages twelve stolen bases a year.Such consistent production has earned him four All-Star selections, three Most Valuable Player nominations, and a Silver Slugger award. His defensive abilities has netted him a Gold Glove in 2007 as well.Even more astounding, however, is the fact that in nine of his ten seasons, Martin has led his team to the playoffs. Starting back in 2006, Martin’s Dodgers won the National League West Division crown.With Martin firmly entrenched behind the plate, Los Angeles reached the playoffs for the next three years as well. Then, almost inexplicably, the Dodgers allowed him to pursue free agency in 2010.He signed on with the Yankees that winter, and his impact on his new team was immediate. He guided New York to the playoffs that year, and then to the American League Championship series in 2012.Like the Dodgers two years before, the Yankees then allowed Martin to enter free agency. The Pirates quickly signed him, and just as quickly Pittsburgh found themselves in the postseason for the first time in over twenty years.Another team with a long playoff drought, the Blue Jays, nabbed Martin when his contract with Pittsburgh expired in 2015. Sure enough, Toronto found itself in the postseason as champs of the American League Eastern division.The Blue Jays, unlike their three predecessors, made sure they would have Martin for more than just a few years. His current contract guarantees he will be in Toronto until at least the 2020 season, which should suit the All-Star just fine. After all, Martin is a Canadian native who was born and raised in Ontario.