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Addison Russell

Addison Russell

Addison Wayne Russell (born January 23, 1994) is an American professional baseball second baseman for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball (MLB). Russell was drafted 11th overall by the Oakland Athletics in the 2012 Major League Baseball draft. In 2015, Baseball America listed Russell as the third-best prospect in professional baseball. He made his MLB debut for the Cubs in April 2015 and was an All-Star in 2016. That same year, Russell won a World Series ring with the Cubs.

Addison Russell
Addison Russell 2017.jpg
Russell with the Chicago Cubs in July 2017
Chicago Cubs – No. 27
Second baseman / Shortstop
Born:(1994-01-23)January 23, 1994
Pensacola, Florida
Bats: RightThrows: Right
MLB debut
April 21, 2015, for the Chicago Cubs
MLB statistics
(through September 7, 2019)
Batting average.241
Home runs60
Runs batted in253
Career highlights and awards
  • All-Star (2016)
  • World Series champion (2016)

Early life

Russell was born on January 23, 1994, in Pensacola, Florida, the eldest of four children raised by mother Milany Ocampo-Russell and stepfather Wayne Russell.[2][3] Russell's mother is Filipina.[4] The full name on Russell's birth certificate is Geoffreye O'Neal Addison Robert Watts Jr III. He was nearly killed by human respiratory syncytial virus at three months old. He was adopted by his stepfather, Wayne, at 13 years old and took the name Addison Wayne Russell.[5]

Amateur career

High school

Russell attended Pace High School in Florida and in 2010 led his high school to a class 5A FHSAA baseball state championship and a runner-up finish in 2012.[6] Russell played in the 2010 Under Armour All-America Baseball Game,[7] was named a Perfect Game Aflac All-American Game participant and a Louisville Slugger First Team All-American in 2011.[6] He was also ranked as the No. 18 high school prospect by Baseball America and as the No. 24 high school prospect by Perfect Game.[6] In his final high school baseball season, Russell hit for a .368 batting average and recorded a .532 on base percentage.[8] Russell also played high school football at the running back position.[9]

In November 2011, Russell signed a National Letter of Intent to play college baseball at Auburn University for the Tigers baseball team.[10]


Russell was a member of the USA Baseball 18U National Team at the 2011 COPABE 18U/AAA Pan American games that won a gold medal.[6][10] At the tournament, Russell batted .393, going 11-for-28 with three doubles, a triple and a home run, driving in nine RBIs and scoring 11 runs.[10] During the championship game against Team Canada, Russell hit a grand slam and was named First-Team All Tournament as Shortstop for his efforts.[11] At the tournament for Team USA, Russell played alongside future professional baseball players Albert Almora, Alex Bregman, David Dahl, Joey Gallo, and Carson Kelly.[11]

Professional career

Draft and minor leagues

Russell was drafted by the Oakland Athletics with the 11th overall pick of the first round in the 2012 Major League Baseball draft out of Pace High School in Pace, Florida.[8][12] Russell received a $2.625 million signing bonus for signing with the A's instead of attending Auburn.[9] He was also the first high school athlete selected by the A's in the first round of the draft since Jeremy Bonderman in 2001.[9]

Russell started his career with the Arizona League Athletics, where he hit .415/.488/.717 with six home runs and 29 runs batted in in 26 games. He was then promoted to the Vermont Lake Monsters and hit .340/.386/.509 with one home run in 13 games. He finished the season with the Class-A Burlington Bees, hitting .310/.369/.448 in 16 games. Overall, he finished his first season hitting .369/.432/.594 with seven home runs and 45 runs batted in 55 games. In 2012, he was named an Oakland MILB.com organization All-Star and an AZL post-season All-Star.[13]

Prior to the 2013 season, Russell was the Athletics' best prospect according to Baseball America.[14] He was also named the best prospect in the Arizona League.[15] In 2013, he was named an Oakland MILB.com organization All-Star, a CAL rookie of the year,[16] a CAL post-season All-Star, and a CAL Futures Game selection.[13][17] Playing for Mesa, he was also named to the AFL All-Prospect Team, and an AFL Rising Star.[13]

Chicago Cubs

On July 4, 2014, Russell, along with pitcher Dan Straily, outfielder Billy McKinney, and a player to be named later, was traded to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for pitcher Jason Hammel and pitcher Jeff Samardzija.[18][19] The Cubs sent Russell to the Arizona Fall League for the second time at the end of the 2014 minor league season.[20]


Baseball America named him the #3 prospect before the 2015 season.[21] On April 21, Russell was called up to the 25-man roster to play second base against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.[22][23] On May 1, Russell hit his first career home run off of Wily Peralta in a 1–0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.[24] He moved to his normal infield position at shortstop in early August, replacing three-time All-Star Starlin Castro. Russell committed only two errors in 52 games as the regular Cubs shortstop.[25]

In the 2015 postseason, he had 3 hits in 12 at bats with 1 RBI. Cardinal Pitcher John Lackey had a no-hitter into the sixth. Russell's single was the first hit. He hit a triple in the late innings of the third NLDS game and was slightly injured sliding into third. He did not play in game four. After the Cubs defeated the Cardinals in the NLDS to advance to the NLCS to face the New York Mets, it was announced that Russell had pulled his hamstring. This injury kept him out of the NLCS.

After the season, the Cubs acquired Jason Heyward. Russell gave up his jersey number, 22, to Heyward, and switched to number 27 in honor of Eddie George.[26]


Batting .242 with 11 home runs and 48 RBIs, Russell was the starting shortstop at the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.[27] By the beginning of September of the 2016 season, Russell had 108 hits in 445 at bats with 19 home runs and 88 runs batted in. Russell had a bases-loaded game-winning hit in a late-season game against the San Francisco Giants.[28] He was 9-for-23 (.391) with 24 RBIs in bases-loaded situations for the year;[29] the 9 bases-loaded hits led MLB for the season.[30] In the seventh inning of the same game, in a bases loaded situation, Russell made an acrobatic catch at the left field foul line for the final out of the inning.[31] Russell finished the year with 95 RBIs and became the second Cub shortstop with over 90 for a season. Previously, Hall of Famer Ernie Banks accomplished this feat five times. Russell hit decisive two-run home runs in Games 4 and 5 of that year's National League Championship Series, helping the Cubs break the Curse of the Billy Goat en route to their first World Series appearance in 108 years.[32][33]

On October 25, 2016, Addison Russell along with teammates Dexter Fowler, Jason Heyward, and Carl Edwards Jr., became the first African-Americans to play for the Cubs in a World Series game. Both Russell and Fowler are the first African-Americans to start for the Cubs in a World Series due to it being the first World Series the Cubs have played in since desegregation.[34][35][36][1] Addison hit the 19th grand slam in the history of the World Series in the sixth game and also tied an MLB record of 6 RBI by one player in a game on a team facing elimination from the fall classic. He became the first player of full or part Filipino ancestry to hit a grand slam in a World Series game. It was the first World Series grand slam since Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox in the 2005 World Series.


On April 19, 2017, Russell hit his first career walk-off home run, a three-run shot against the Milwaukee Brewers.[37] On August 4, Russell was placed on the 10-day disabled list due to a strained right foot.[38] At that point in the season his batting average was .241 with 10 home runs and 36 RBI's.

On September 16, 2017, Russell returned from a long stint on the disabled list, and homered in his first at-bat. [39]


Russell had a disappointing season (.250 BA, 5 HR, 38 RBI[40]), and he did not play again after September 19 due to the MLB placing him on administrative leave as it investigated abuse allegations made against him by his ex-wife.[41]


Russell was suspended for the first 29 games of the season, finishing the 40-game suspension he received in 2018 as a result of allegations, found credible by MLB, that he abused his wife. Once his suspension was served, he reported to the Iowa Cubs.[42] He was recalled to Chicago on May 8. [43] Immediately, he switched from shortstop to second base. That night he went 0-for-3 with a walk against the Miami Marlins. The Wrigley Field crowd greeted Russell with mostly boos.[44] Russell hit his first home run of the 2019 season on May 15 against the Cincinnati Reds. The Cubs optioned Russell to AAA on July 24, 2019, to make room for catcher Willson Contreras.

Personal life

Russell has a daughter named Mila, born in May 2015. Mila's mother is Mallory Engstrom.[45] Russell and Melisa Reidy married in January 2016 and have a son, Aiden, born in August 2015.[46] In June 2017, Russell was accused, by an unknown party, of domestic violence against Reidy, an incident which led to Reidy filing for divorce.[47] Two weeks after this initial allegation, Reidy's lawyer said that she would not be cooperating with MLB's investigation and that she "isn't interested in legitimizing anything that doesn’t come from her."[48] Ultimately, Reidy did meet with MLB once she felt strong enough to do so.[49] MLB suspended Russell for 40 games as a result of its investigation.[50] Russell did not appeal the suspension.

Russell's third child, a son named Raynor, was born in October 2018 to girlfriend Asti Kelley.[51]

Russell chose "Addy" as his nickname for the Players Weekend during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.[52][53]

See also

  • List of Major League Baseball players investigated for domestic violence


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