Blue Jays: Top-five greatest catchers in franchise history

Michael Fisher
Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays / Focus On Sport/GettyImages
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No. 2 Russell Martin

Canadian Russell Martin was a well-established and successful veteran when he arrived in Toronto in 2015. Through nine seasons with the Dodgers, Yankees and Pirates, he had garnered three All-Star appearances, as well as a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award.

Blue Jays fans could celebrate the Toronto-born and Montreal-raised talent finally coming home to play for Canada's team. And this wasn't a case of the team bringing in a veteran at the end of his career for easy publicity.

Martin brought a wealth of experience and a track record of success to Toronto. He had helped guide every team he had played with to the postseason, appearing in the playoffs in seven of his nine seasons in the majors. With Martin running the show behind the plate, the Jays got back into the postseason for the first time since 1993.

Over his four seasons with the Jays, Martin accumulated 11.1 WAR, good enough for second at the position. His best offensive season came in 2015 when he recaptured his offensive prowess from his early years.

Through 129 games, he posted a .240/.329/.458 slash line and launched 23 HR, the highest total of his career. He also chipped in 76 R and 77 RBI as part of a potent offense on a team that finished first in the AL East by a healthy six-game margin. During this resurgent season, he was named to the All-Star team and received MVP votes for the third straight year.

Martin's experience helped the team climb out of an 0-2 hole against the Rangers and take the best-of-five AL Division Series 3-2 before succumbing to Kansas City in the ALCS.

The talented Canuck had another strong offensive year in 2016, where he put up 20 HR, 62 R and 74 RBI through 137 games. The Jays made the playoffs for the second straight year, beating the Orioles in the Wild Card and the Rangers in the ALDS before bowing out to Cleveland.

Although the team struggled over Martin's final two seasons in Toronto, and he was eventually traded to the Dodgers before the 2019 season, he will always be remembered as the Canadian boy who came home and helped bring winning baseball back to Toronto. And in doing so, introduced a new generation of Blue Jays fans to the excitement of the postseason.

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