TORONTO - As part of a special Canada Day pregame ceremony in honour of four-time All-Star Russell Martin (Montréal, QC), who recently retired after 14 big league seasons, it was announced that going forward the annual Junior National Team Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award will be known as The Russell Martin Award, proudly sponsored by the Toronto Blue Jays.
The pregame ceremony also included the announcement that the Blue Jays will host a baseball clinic in Martin’s home province of Québec each year.
“On behalf of Baseball Canada and our Junior National Team program, we are honoured to have the support of the Toronto Blue Jays in renaming the Junior National Team Most Valuable Player Award to The Russell Martin Award,” said Greg Hamilton, Director of Men’s National Teams, and Head Coach of the Junior National Team. “Prior to his distinguished career in the big leagues, Russell was a member of the Junior National Team program, the same program where many young Canadian ball players dream of becoming the next Russell Martin. To have this award named after him will provide a deserved legacy and inspire future generations of Junior National Team players.”
“Russell’s impressive playing career elevated the game in Canada and inspired countless young people to step out on a baseball diamond,” said Mark Shapiro, President & CEO, Toronto Blue Jays. “He galvanized a fanbase in Toronto and beyond, and his enormous success is worthy of celebrating today and moving forward.”
Hamilton was on field at Rogers Centre for the pregame ceremony along with Martin, Shapiro and current Junior National Team players Cameron Chee-Aloy, Ty Hamilton, Carson Lumley, Hugh Pinkney and Sam White.
Prior to his big-league debut in 2006, Martin represented Canada as an amateur player at the 2000 World Junior Baseball Championships in Edmonton before wearing the national team uniform as a professional at the 2003 Olympic Baseball Qualifier in Panama where he helped Canada secure a spot of the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Martin was also a member of Canada’s entry at the 2009 World Baseball Classic in Toronto where he homered at Rogers Centre on March 7, 2009 against the United States.