A Living Legend
Edgar Martinez is, without one single doubt, my favorite player in any sport throughout history. Making his MLB debut just two years before I was born in 1989, I grew up watching the King of doubles over countless summer nights when he and a cast of Jay Buhner, Ken Griffey Jr., Joey Cora, Norm Charlton, and Randy Johnson propelled the Seattle Mariners to new heights.
I even went so far as to emulate his batting stance during portions of my baseball career, earning the appropriate nickname of ‘Edgar’ when I would sometimes step up to the plate. Yes, it was indeed evident that Martinez was, by far, my favorite player to ever call himself an athlete.
Over the course of his career, Edgar was a statistical monster. He played in a total of 2,055 games, collecting 2,247 hits in 7,213 at-bats while crushing 309 home runs and accounting for 514 doubles. Edgar also drove home 1,261 runs and even collected 15 triples and 49 stolen bases during his younger days.
The awards that Edgar received throughout his career also paid tribute to how great and consistent of a player he was. He won five Silver Slugger Awards (1992, 1995, 1997, 2001, 20013), seven American League Player of the Month awards (07/1992, 08/1992, 06/1995, 05/2000), and was elected to seven All-Star games (1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2003).
The lifetime Mariner also racked in the most doubles in the league in 1992 and 1995 while taking home the Roberto Clemente Award in 2004, an award given to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team”.
Edgar was the exact description of what it means to be both an athlete and a community leader. Always the most personable and caring athlete, it was hard to find anything wrong about this great individual. After his retirement in 2004 Major League Baseball decided to rename the Outstanding Designated Hitter Award to the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award, cementing him as one of the greatest DH’s to ever play the game.
Continuing our stroll down Edgar Martinez memory lane, here are my top 5 Edgar Martinez moments throughout his illustrious career.
5. The Retirement Trot
Possibly the saddest moment in Edgar’s career, his retirement was everything that it should have been.
Though he would fail to collect a hit in his final game at Safeco Field in a 3-0 loss to the Texas Rangers, the emotions and atmosphere surrounding the stadium as Edgar took a final jog along the warning track felt as though he had won the World Series in stunning fashion for Seattle.
I’ll never forget the moment I saw Edgar running around Safeco Field, giving high fives and acknowledging the sellout crowd that had come to pay their respects to a Seattle legend. Added to the fact that it was the day before my birthday made this a very special event.
4. Edgar Takes Third for the Final Time
Admittedly these first two posts are relatively sentimental moments. While Edgar’s final game came on October 3, 2004, his last time playing third base–and the first time since 1997–came in the 9th inning of Seattle’s game against Texas on October 2nd.
While it was for just one pitch (curse you, Bob Melvin!), the symbolic move gave Mariners‘ fans a final chance to see their beloved player at the position he had originally played for Seattle (though he did see some brief time at first base as well).
Crowds saluted Edgar with his signature “ED-GAR” chant that echoed throughout Safeco and even made him come out for a curtain call.
3. Any of the Commercials
Watch any of the commercials Edgar was in and you’ll instantly notice he was born for the camera as well.
2. First At-Bat
How appropriate and ironic is it that Edgar’s first at-bat resulted in a triple for the budding star. Though he would be sent back down to the minors and eventually sustain injuries that would place him in the DH spot, Martinez definitely had all the tools to be a great, well-rounded player from very early on in his career.
Plus, this was the moment that started them all.
1. The Double
The single greatest moment in Seattle sport’s history. That is until the Mariners and Seahawks win their respective championships this year.