It is only fitting.
If you have an award named after you, you should have a reserved spot in Cooperstown.
2019 marks time for Edgar Martinez to take his spot among the greats in the Hall of Fame—finally, I might add. Martinez spent his entire career, 1987-2004, sporting the Seattle Mariners jersey, and he rightfully embodies everything fans love about their small-market team. He wasn’t the next can’t-miss prospect, as he didn’t become a full-time contributor with the club until his age-27 season; he was surely a late bloomer. He was the consummate professional, mastering his craft and going about his business.
Martinez’s career numbers aren’t going to jump off the page amidst a baseball generation obsessed with home runs, exit velocity, and launch angles; he only hit 309 home runs. To more clearly understand Gar’s brilliance, during his career he had more walks than he did strikeouts.
Let that sink in. Out of his 14 seasons, in which he appeared in 89 games or more, he completed the feat of more walks than strikeouts an outstanding 10 times! Mike Trout is unanimously recognized as one, if not the, greatest hitters of modern age baseball. In his first 7 full-time seasons, he has only accomplished this feat once. And maybe just as remarkable, Trout at the All-Star break this year, has more strikeouts (69) than Martinez had his first full-time year (62).
Martinez was at his best with the game on the line and against the best. As a matter of fact, let’s examine his numbers against fellow Cooperstown 2019 inductee, the great Mariano Rivera.
Rivera’s dominance is customary common sense to the everyday fan. Fellow ball clubs knew once the great Metallica’s Enter Sandman started to play, signaling Rivera’s entrance into the game, the end result was a Yankees win. This was illustrated by Rivera making MLB history as the first player elected to the Hall of Fame unanimously.
Martinez torched Rivera repeatedly to the tune of a .579 batting average over 23 plate appearances! Along with his continued success against the great closer, Martinez was also one of the few players who own multiple homers against him.
But Martinez’s crowning moment came once again against the Yankees during game 5 of the American League Division Series. The Mariners were down 5-4 in the bottom of the 11th inning, Joey Cora and Ken Griffey Jr. started off the inning with back-to-back singles. So the Mariners had the tying run on third and the series-winning run on first. Martinez then ripped a double down into the left field corner, which easily scored the winning run with Griffey’s speed, lifting the Mariners, who had lost the first two games of the series, over the giant Yankees.
This is the greatest moment in Seattle Mariners baseball history, and it was engineered by not only one of the greatest Mariners of all time, but one of the greatest baseball players ever. Period.