Edgar Martinez is finally being enshrined in Cooperstown. On his final appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot Edgar ends up where he belongs. It should not have taken ten years and numerous misses to get Edgar into Cooperstown. The fact that the man has an award named after him says all you need to know about the man. He played eighteen years for the Mariners and represented the team seven times as an All-Star.
A two-time batting champion.
And a five-time Silver Slugger award winner.
He led the American League in RBIs during the 2000 season.
Yet, the baseball writers of America did not see fit to give him his rightful place in the Hall of Fame until this year. Edgar Martinez should have been a first ballot Hall of Famer. He hit 309 homers, drove in 1261 runs, hit for a career average of .312! There are guys in the Hall who have worse numbers than that. It’s appalling that it took this long to get him in.
We are definitely happy for Edgar. A lot of friends told me today that they had tears of joy that Edgar finally made it in. In the above quote, you can feel the passion from his words. And that is what Edgar brought to the Kingdown and Safeco Field every single night.
Every time Edgar stepped up to the plate you knew that something magical could happen on any pitch. When I say magical there is one play that comes to mind.
I sat in my living room, fourteen years old when that hit happened. The only person in the living room watching the game. I don’t know what everyone else in my family had been up to that night, but I sat in a broken down recliner glued to the television. I lept to my feet and ran around the room pumping my fists. Spending years watching the Mariners throw out teams anchored by Scott Bankhead and Pete O’Brien not going anywhere Losing a hundred games year after year tested the fans.
But that night in 1995 a lot of things changed. Hell, those few months leading up to The Double and the Mariners going to the ALCS for the first time is nothing short of magical.
Edgar Martinez made a lot of that happen.
He spent a lot of time in the shadow of Ken Griffey Jr. through the prime of his career and in the shadow of Ichiro during his twilight. Not once did he ever demand to be traded or ask for a special concession. Edgar Martinez wanted to be in Seattle and he wanted to do everything he could to bring the Mariners organization a championship.
Sadly, he never did deliver that to Seattle. He came close a few times. To me though, he delivered something better. He delivered a love of baseball to all the people of the Pacific Northwest. From BC to Portland, Aberdeen to Missoula you’d be hard-pressed to not find anyone who knows who Edgar Martinez is. I’m sure if you asked a random stranger on the street about Edgar and they’d have a story to tell you. It could be a baseball story or meeting him in Costco in Issaquah.
He might never crack the Seattle Mount Rushmore for sports, but he’s definitely a first ballot Hall of Famer in Seattle.
Mariano Rivera made the Hall today also. A unanimous decision. The first ever in the Hall’s history.
How did Edgar fair against Mariano? A paltry 11 for 19 (.589 avg), three doubles, and two home runs.