Martin Wins First Sliver Slugger Award

Dodger catcher Russell Martin won the 2007 Louisville Slugger® Silver Slugger™ Award in the National League. This is the first time he has earned the award, which honors the best offensive player at each position and voted upon by Major League Baseball coaches and managers. He is the first Dodger to win the award since Jeff Kent in 2005, and the first Dodger catcher since Mike Piazza in 1997.

    In just his second Major League campaign, Martin, 24, led all Major League catchers with 145 games played and led all National League catchers in hits (157), homers (19), runs (87), stolen bases (21), batting average (.297), on-base percentage (.380) and slugging percentage (.477). On the road, Martin batted .329, which ranked him fourth among all National League players.

His 21 stolen bases led all Major League catchers and surpassed set a new Dodger franchise record. Martin also became the first big league catcher to hit 15 homers and steal 20 bases in a season since Ivan Rodriguez in 1999.

With his 87 RBI, Martin became just the sixth catcher in Dodger history to collect 80 RBI in a season, joining Roy Campanella (6 times), Mike Piazza (5 times), Paul Lo Duca and Bruce Edwards (one time each). Joe Ferguson knocked in 87 runs in 1973 but only 71 of them came when he was catching. He collected 16 as an outfielder and one as a pinch-hitter.

2007 N.L. Silver Sluggers C— Russell Martin, Los Angeles 1b— Prince Fielder, Milwaukee 2b— Chase Utley, Philadelphia 3b— David Wright, New York ss— Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia of— Carlos Beltran, New York of— Matt Holliday, Colorado of— Carlos Lee, Houston p— Micah Owings, Arizona

Mike Piazza won five gold gloves with the Dodgers (1993-97) and went on to win five more in succession with the New York Mets.

Outfielder Dusty Baker (1980) won the award in it's initial year, and again in 1981. Pitcher Fernando Valenzuela (1981, 1983) is the only other Dodgers multiple winner.

Outfielder Pedro Guerrero (1982), 2B Steve Sax (1986), outfielder Kirk Gibson and pitcher Tim Leary (1988), 1B Eddie Murray (1990), pitcher Orel Hershiser (1993) and 1B Eric Karros (1995) earned single awards.  

Earlier this week, Martin also earned his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award honoring his defensive performance, and became the first Dodger catcher to take home the award since Charles Johnson was honored as the National League's best backstop in 1998. Martin was voted by fans as the starting catcher in the 2007 All-Star Game, becoming the first Dodger catcher to start the Midsummer Classic since Mike Piazza in 1997.

Additionally, Dodger uniformed personnel elected Martin as the winner of the second annual Roy Campanella Award, which is given to the Dodger player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. Other honors Martin received this season included winning the Dodgers' Heart & Hustle Award (chosen by the MLB Players Alumni Association), a nomination for the Hank Aaron Award (which recognizes the best offensive performer from each league) and was named to the Sporting News National League All-Star team after the season.  

On the defensive side, Martin led all Major League catchers with 1,254.0 innings caught and 1,065 putouts. Additionally, his 7.64 putouts per nine innings ratio, 0.61 assists per nine innings ratio and 11 double plays were all National League bests in 2007 and his 3.95 catcher's ERA was the fourth-best mark in the league. Martin threw out 29.7 percent of runners attempting to steal against him, the fourth-highest percentage in the National League.

Winners were picked by major league managers and coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own players. Selections for each position were based on a combination of offensive statistics, such as batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, as well as impressions of a player's offensive value.

The awards are given annually by Hillerich & Bradsby Co., the maker of Louisville Slugger bats.

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