Big Russ played saxophone.

Little Russ played shortstop.

Big Russ would leave their Montreal apartment at dawn and descend into the bowels of the subway, where he would pull out his sax and make his living. He was a street musician, playing "Misty" for the rush-hour commuters who would fill his case with dollars and his vision with hope.

Little Russ was one of those commuters. While Big Russ was playing in one dim corner, Little Russ was racing through another, jumping on a train for the hourlong trip to the only school where he could play baseball.

The father worked the cluttered Montreal streets. The son worked the clumpy Montreal diamonds.

The father dreamed of an easier life. The son dreamed of a better league.

Roommates and friends, the two men lived together for the most important four years of their lives, making the sort of haphazard, harmonious music that only a father and son can make.

Next week in Dodger Stadium, they hope to orchestrate the finale.

Little Russ -- Russell Martin of the Dodgers -- will be catching for his fifth week in the big leagues.

Big Russ -- his father, Russell Martin -- hopes to find the money to fly down to see him play for the first time as a professional.

Said Little Russ: "I have dreamed of that day."

Said Big Russ: "My bag is already packed."

Said Little Russ: "He didn't just teach me about being a baseball player, he taught me about being a man."


From Yeager to Scioscia to Piazza to Lo Duca, the legacy of Los Angeles Dodgers' home-grown catchers has been as diverse as it is special.

Meet Russell Nathan Coltrane Jeanson Martin.

Yeah, that's Coltrane, as in John Coltrane, the late celebrated jazz saxophonist.

"That name came from me," Big Russ said.

Meet Russell Martin, the rookie who thinks he's a veteran, the French Canadian skater who thinks he's an Alabama linebacker, the coolest of all the new Dodgers kids.