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'Cueto! Cueto!' Former Pirates catcher Russell Martin announces retirement

CBS Pittsburgh
CBS Pittsburgh
 2022-05-29

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - It was a sea of black at PNC Park on a crisp October night in 2013 when 38,000 fans with one voice chanted at the Reds' pitcher.

"Cueto! Cueto! Cueto!"

From there, the then Cincinnati pitcher was about to head into his stretch when the ball came tumbling out of his glove and he officially had nowhere to hide.

At the plate stood Pirates' catcher Russell Martin, facing a 2-1 count in the bottom of the second inning of the National League Wild Card Game with his team up 1-0.

As the capacity crowd on the North Shore continued their sing-song chant of Johnny Cueto's last name, he set and offered up a pitch right down the middle.

Martin made no mistake.

He launched a solo home run into the left-center field bleachers at PNC Park and the Pirates suddenly were in complete control.

From there the Pirates would go on to head to their first postseason appearance since 1992.

For two seasons, Russell Martin framed pitches behind the plate for the Pirates, and for those two seasons, he was an impact player.

He compiled a .256 batting average, 26 home runs, and 122 RBIs over those two years.

Martin stepped away from baseball in 2019 and on his Instagram page on Saturday, officially announced his retirement.

Along with the Pirates, Martin also spent time with the Dodgers, Yankees, and Blue Jays.

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