I couldn't be happier for Edgar Martinez, the Seattle Mariners and the Mariner fan base for Edgar's selection for the baseball Hall of Fame. [1,121 words, 3 , 2 ]
Cooperstown Calls Up Edgar Martinez
The 1995 Mariners season will forever by intertwined with the legend of Edgar Martinez for Seattle baseball fans. In arguably the best playoff performance by any Major League Baseball (MLB) player, Edgar hit .571 BA, with a .667 OBP, 1.000 Slugging % and an OPS of 1.667 in the '95 American League Division Series (ALDS). Reaching base 18 times in those 5 games and producing game-winning (game 4) and series winning (game 5) hits, was a vital part of winning the battle of hearts-and-minds necessary to keep MLB in Seattle. He had a lot of help from Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr, Jay Buhner, Alex Rodriguez and the rest of the Mariners — along with local politician and news media support. But without Edgar, would it have happened?
Mariners vs Yankees 1995 ALDS Game 5 Bottom of the 11th YouTube | 10/08/95 | 7.27 minutes
The biggest hit in Edgar's career, if not the Mariners franchise sent Joey Cora home, Junior flying around third-base to home and the Mariners into the American League Championship series in one of the most improbable, dramatic seasons in MLB history.
- Edgar reached base a MLB record 18 times in the 5 game ALDS and his 7 RBI in Game 4 are tied for the most in a single Postseason game.
He's the antithesis of braggadocious. He won't win Mr. Personality. He wasn't crowned 'Most Likely to Succeed'. No fanfare accompanied his selection in the draft. His path to the majors wasn't followed by beat writers.
I finally added a signed Edgar jersey to my tiny collection (2018).
Until he was tearing the covers off baseballs and playing third base for the Calgary Cannons in the Pacific Coast League, the Mariners AAA club, Edgar Martinez was just another maybe. Unfortunately, in 1987, he was stuck behind another 24 year old at the time on the big club, Jim Presley. Yes, Jim Presley (lifetime .247 BA in 8 seasons) kept Edgar in AAA until Edgar forced the issue.
Then Edgar was overwhelmed. The team sent him back down in 1989 after 65 games of .240 ball. He didn't become a regular until the 1990 season at the age of 27, when they called him up for good playing 144 games, hitting .302. Three years later, injuries are mounting and his career again reaches a potential ending point. He turns to being a Designated Hitter (DH), then demonstrates such excellence, they name the yearly award after him.
Edgar Martinez signed Big Stick bat.
He later retires and is immediately projected by most (outside of the Mariner fan base) to miss the Hall of Fame by 'just this much'. First year on the ballot seems to confirm as much as he polled at 36.2% but hard work and patience pay off again with 85.4% putting him over the necessary 75% in his last year of eligibility.
Maybe that's why we love him so much, he earned everything, nothing came easy.
Some of My Favorite Edgar Stats
1 Roberto Clemente Award
2 AL Batting Titles
5 AL Silver Slugger Awards
5 DH of the Year Awards
MLB named the DH Award after him in 2004
Ranks 17th all-time with a .418 career on-base percentage
One of 14 players in MLB history with a career .310/.410/.510 slash line
Drew 90+ walks for 8 seasons…Only 17 players in MLB history have more 90+ walk seasons
one of 9 players in MLB history with at least 300 home runs, 500 doubles, 1,000 walks, a .300 career batting average and a .400 career on-base percentage
During a seven-year stretch from 1995–2001, Edgar hit .329 with a .446 on-base percentage and a .574 slugging mark, becoming one of four players in MLB history to record a .325 batting average, a .440 on-base percentage, a .570 slugging percentage and at least 250 doubles in at least 1,000 games, joining Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams and Todd Helton
During that fateful season during 1995, I joined many thousands of Mariner fans at several rallies around Seattle to show support for keeping our MLB franchise in town.
Edgar Martinez Photo Ball, gotta love the mustache.
If you weren't born just yet, the summarized situation is the Mariners were going to leave town without some taxpayer supplied stadium funds. Yes, that old shakedown. Public opinion was split, a stadium vote had failed and the only chance left was public pressure and a miraculous Mariners baseball season. The M's kept their part of the bargain and eventually the city was convinced.
At one of these rallies, I distinctly remember Edgar walking through the crowd towards the podium with his wife Holly, right past me. My jaw dropped in surprise as it became clear to me that this giant of a man was no giant at all. He was, well ... normal-sized. He could've been your lawyer or a school teacher or ... you know, someone normal. I had obviously built up his stature in my mind. It always surprised me that I had fooled myself in this manner but in some ways it made me respect Edgar even more.
Edgar's Hall of Fame case MLB.com | 01/15/19 | 2.17 minutes
Bob Costas, Tom Verducci, Roberto Alomar and Chris Russo debate Edgar Martinez's case for the Hall of Fame in his final year of eligibility.
It's inevitable that some will question Edgar's inclusion in the HOF. It's irrelevant, of course, because he's in, period. Some don't like the 309 homers, some are generally biased against the DH position and some may note the lack of MVPs or World Series rings. The doubters don't appear to find much agreement among former MLB players, especially pitchers. Including the only player ever voted unanimously to the Hall, Mariano Rivera.
Edgar Martinez Confounds Peers Even as He Joins Them in Cooperstown
"When you face the type of hitter that Edgar was, you have to really, really bring your game, because he will have you for breakfast, lunch and dinner, like he did me." - Mariano Rivera [Martinez hit 11 for 19 (.579) lifetime vs Rivera]
'Gar' and 'The Kid' remain my favorite Mariners, although fondess extends to numerous other players that I won't list here. Congratulations to Edgar is the point. Congratulations to the Seattle Mariners. To the City of Seattle too and anyone who appreciates having a Major League Baseball team in the area.
As a surprise to no one who follows him, Edgar responded to his many fans with class and humility. Maybe that's why we love him so much.