Edgar Martínez

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Edgar Martínez
Edgar Martinez 1997.jpg
Martínez with the Seattle Mariners in 1997
Designated hitter / Third baseman
Born: (1963-01-02) January 2, 1963 (age 56)
New York, New York
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 12, 1987, for the Seattle Mariners
Last MLB appearance
October 3, 2004, for the Seattle Mariners
MLB statistics
Batting average.312
Hits2,247
Home runs309
Runs batted in1,261
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Edgar Martínez (born January 2, 1963[1]), nicknamed "Gar" and "Papi", is a former Major League Baseball designated hitter and third baseman. Martínez was a seven-time MLB All-Star, five-time Silver Slugger, and two-time batting champion. He is one of 18 players with a triple-slash line (BA/OBP/SLG) of.300/.400/.500 or better with 5,000 or more plate appearances.[2] He spent his entire 18-year Major League Baseball career with the Seattle Mariners. He is of Puerto Rican descent.

Professional career[edit]

Seattle Mariners Prospect[edit]

On December 19, 1982, the Seattle Mariners signed Martínez to a minor league contract. Martínez worked his way through the Mariners minor league system, making stops with the Chattanooga Lookouts and the Calgary Cannons. In 1984, he batted .303 during his first and only full season with the Wausau Timbers.[3] In 1987 he led the Calgary Cannons with a batting average of .329 as well as hits, doubles, batting average, on base percentage, games played, and walks.[4]

Early Career (1987-1989)[edit]

Martínez made his major league debut on September 12, 1987, and proceeded to hit .372 over his first 13 career games. In 1988 Martínez was called up in early May, and played four games before being sent down to Calgary, where he would hit .363 over 95 games. In September he was called up again, and over 10 games hit .389, for his second MLB season he only hit .281/.351.406 over 14 games.[5] Martínez was selected as the starting third baseman on Opening Day in 1989[6], he would be sent back down to Calgary in May[6] where he would hit .345 over 35 games[7]. Over his first three seasons with the Seattle Mariners he would play a total of 92 games, and hit .266/.336/.366. His first three seasons, being spent mainly with the Calgary Cannons, and not the Mariners caused Mariners Executive Lee Pelekoudas to say (of Martínez) “It might have made the decision on the Hall of Fame a heck of a lot easier,”.[8]

First Full Seasons and Batting Title (1990-1992)[edit]

Martínez landed the starting position at third base in 1990 replacing Jim Presley. Over 144 games he hit .302, and had a .397 On-base percentage, both of which led the Mariners.[9] The following year he set career highs in most categories, during the week of July 14th he won his first Player of the Week[10]. He would finish the 1991 season hitting .307/.405/.452, all career highs. 1992 was his breakout year, Martínez was selected to his first All-Star Game,[11] and won his first Player of the Month award in July, (he would go on to win his second the following month)[12] hitting .392/.443/.580 over the course of the two months.[13] At the end of the year he hit .343 which led both leagues,[14] winning Seattle's first batting title, and setting the highest batting average for a Mariner in team history (this has since been surpassed by Ichiro Suzuki). He also led both leagues in doubles, and set a team record for most in a season (this has since been surpassed by Alex Rodriguez).[15] After the season, he was awarded his first Silver Slugger Award for an American League 3rd Basemen.[16]

Injuries (1993-1994)[edit]

Martínez tore his hamstring during an exhibition game at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, B.C. on an unzipped seam in the turf between first and second, just before the 1993 season, and never fully recovered[17] during the season. He missed 42 games at the start of the season, but would be placed on the disabled list two more times before the season ended. In 1994, in his first plate appearance of the season opposing pitcher Dennis Martínez hit the right wrist of Martínez,[18] and he was placed on the disabled list. Between 1993 and 1994 he would only play 131 games[19] and would hit a respectable .271/.381/.451.

Career Year (1995)[edit]

Martínez became a full-time designated hitter in 1995, which would turn into the greatest season of his career. Throughout the season he won his second Player of the Month award in June[12] hitting .402/.537/.761 and another Player of the Week[10]. He was also selected to his second All-Star Game and set career highs in eleven offensive categories. At the end of the year he won his second Batting Title with a team record .356 while also leading the league in runs scored with 121, doubles with 52, on base percentage with .479 and OPS with 1.109 (all team highs at that point)[15]. He also finished 3rd in American League MVP voting behind Mo Vaughn and Albert Belle[20], and won his second Silver Slugger Award[16]. To date, he is the only designated hitter ever to have won a batting title, winning it in 1995 with a .356 average.

The Double[edit]

Martínez is perhaps best remembered for his performance in the 1995 American League Division Series against the New York Yankees in which he hit .571 and was on base 18 times in 5 games. In game 4 of that series, he hit a three-run homer, then a grand slam home run that broke a 6-6 tie, en route to an 11-8 victory. His RBI total in that game set a single-game postseason record. The win knotted the best-of-five series at two games apiece and forced game 5. Down 5-4 in the 11th inning of that decisive game, Martínez hit a two-run double, called "The Double" by Mariners fans, off Jack McDowell, winning the game for the Mariners, 6-5, and series, 3-2. The win sent the Mariners to the American League Championship Series for the first time in franchise history, against the Cleveland Indians, a series they would eventually lose in 6 games.

A lot of people remember that double when they talk about my career, I'd say, yeah, that would define my career.

— Edgar Martínez, espn.com: September 25, 2004.[21]

Baseball lore says that Martínez saved Seattle baseball with that double. While his series-winning hit did help build the groundswell that the Washington State Legislature eventually had to respond to, by enacting legislation to fund Safeco Field, it was one of many moments in a "miracle run" by the Mariners in September and October 1995 that changed public sentiment towards the team and towards public financing of a baseball-only stadium as a partial replacement for the Kingdome.

Later Career (1996-2004)[edit]

On August 9, 2004 Martínez announced his retirement, effective at the end of the season. Martínez said this about his choice of retiring and career in Seattle:

It is hard, very hard, I feel in my mind and my heart I want to keep playing. But my body is saying something differently, so I feel this is a good decision.

— Edgar Martínez, The Seattle Times: August 10, 2004[22]

Legacy[edit]

Martínez at bat in 2004

During his career, Martínez was a Mariner fan favorite, playing his entire career with the team, and always being willing to sign autographs for fans. In October 2004, following his retirement, the part of South Atlantic Street in Seattle adjoining Safeco Field was renamed Edgar Martínez Drive South. At his retirement ceremony, a portrait "featuring his high stepping batting style" painted by artist Michele Rushworth was presented to him by the Mariners.

The Mariners have not issued Martínez' #11 jersey to anyone since he retired. Under Mariners' team policy, he was not eligible to have his jersey formally retired until 2010, when he became eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame for the first time. The Mariners retired Martinez's #11 jersey on August 12, 2017.[23]

Edgar Martínez's number 11 was retired by the Seattle Mariners in 2017.

Martínez was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame on September 9, 2003, in a pregame on field ceremony at Safeco Field.

In 2004, Major League Baseball renamed the Outstanding Designated Hitter Award in Martínez's honor. A five-time winner of the award, he is one of eight players to have MLB awards named for them. The others are: Jackie Robinson for Rookie of the Year, Cy Young for pitching, Hank Aaron for batting, Roberto Clemente for "sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team", Ted Williams for the All-Star Game MVP Award, and Tony Gwynn (National League) and Rod Carew (American League), whose names are attached to the Batting Champion award of each league .

He was inducted into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame on June 2, 2007.[24]

In December 2007 former Mariners outfielder Shane Monahan gave an interview with ESPN.com in which he stated that amphetamines and steroids were both rampant in the team's clubhouse in the late '90s. Monahan said that just about every Seattle player other than former catcher Dan Wilson used amphetamines while he was in Seattle. Martínez, like former teammates Jamie Moyer and Raúl Ibañez, denied allegations of such use in the clubhouse. Martínez made this statement while visiting the Mariners in spring training: I don't know why [Monahan] said that, I was there for a long time, and I didn't see what he saw... What are you going to do? There has been a lot of this going on around baseball... But like I said, I was there for a long time and never saw any of that. —Edgar Martínez, The Seattle Times: March 15, 2008.

Martinez was first eligible to be elected into the baseball Hall of Fame in 2010. He received 36.2% of the vote. In subsequent years Martinez failed to see a significant increase in support, peaking at 43% in the 2015 balloting but in the 2017 ballot his percentage rose to 58. While some sports writers feel that his batting numbers do not overcome the one-dimensional aspect of his career as a D.H., others have compared this to the specialty of closers whose contribution to their teams victories resides on working one inning to preserve an advantage and the fact that these late inning relievers are not involved in other facets of the game such as hitting and base running. [25] Martinez received a higher vote percentage in the 2018 ballot, his 9th year on the ballot, with 70.4%, placing him closer to the 75% minimum percentage for election. The 2019 ballot will be his last chance for BBWAA election. If inducted, Martínez would be the sixth player to be elected in his final ballot, after Red Ruffing, Joe Medwick, Ralph Kiner, Jim Rice, and Tim Raines.

For the 2013 season, the Mariners worked with Martínez, local chef Ethan Stowell and bartender Anu Apte to create Edgar's Cantina at Safeco Field.[26]

Retired Yankee great Mariano Rivera, when asked whether there was anyone he was afraid to face, said that he was never afraid, but "I will put it like this: The only guy that I didn't want to face, when a tough situation comes, was Edgar Martínez. The reason is because I couldn't get him out. (laughs) I couldn't get him out. It didn't matter how I threw the ball. I couldn't get him out. Oh, my god, he had more than my number. He had my breakfast, lunch and dinner. He got everything from me."[27] Versus Rivera, Martínez was able to log a .579 batting average, with 11 hits during 19 at bats.[28] Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martínez (no relation) also named Edgar Martínez as one of the toughest hitters he had to pitch against in his career because, Pedro said, he was very disciplined at the plate and "would foul off pitches that would wipe out anybody else."[29]

Personal life[edit]

Martínez in 2009

Though born in New York, Martínez returned to his family's native Puerto Rico in 1965 when his parents divorced. He grew up in Dorado and graduated from American College in Puerto Rico. Martínez taught himself how to speak English (which he speaks with a mild Puerto Rican accent) and how to use computers.[30] A beloved figure in Seattle, he is now living in Bellevue, Washington, with his wife Holli and their three children: Alex, Tessa, and Jacqueline. He runs Branded Solutions by Edgar Martínez, a byproduct of his family's embroidery business, in Kirkland, Washington.[31] Martínez is one of the founders of Plaza Bank, founded in 2005 as Washington's first Hispanic bank.[32] He is the cousin of former outfielder/first baseman Carmelo Martínez.

In 1999 Martínez was diagnosed with strabismus[33], a condition which which causes the eyes to not properly align. For Martínez, his right eye would intermittently drift and cause him to lose depth perception.[8]

Humanitarian leadership[edit]

Martínez has been honored for countless hours, funds, resources, and contributions that he and his wife Holli have made available to Seattle Children's Hospital, including the Edgar Martínez Endowment for Muscular Dystrophy Research, established by the Mariners in honor of his retirement, and the Children's Hospital Annual Wishing Well Night at Safeco Field. Martínez has also supported the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, Overlake Hospital, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Wishing Star Foundation, United Way, Esperanza, Page Ahead Children's Literacy Program, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and Mariners Care. Because of his contributions, on June 20, 2007, Martínez was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in Boise, Idaho.

In December 2001, he and his wife hosted "A Night of Hope" fundraising dinner and auction. The event raised $100,000 for Parent Project and created two research fellowships for Seattle-based scientists studying Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stone, Larry; José Miguel Romero; Les Carpenter (October 4, 2004). "Goodbye, Mr. Baseball: The Final Years (2002-present)". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on October 14, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2008.
  2. ^ Baseball-Reference. "Baseball-Reference Play Index". Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  3. ^ "1984 Wausau Timbers". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  4. ^ "1987 Calgary Cannons". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  5. ^ "1988 Splits - Edgar Martínez". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  6. ^ a b "EDGAR MARTINEZ THROUGH THE YEARS". Kitsap Sun. 3 October 2004.
  7. ^ "1989 Calgary Cannons". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  8. ^ a b Larry Stone (11 August 2017). "Edgar Martinez's improbable path to becoming a Mariners icon". The Seattle Times.
  9. ^ "1990 Seattle Mariners". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  10. ^ a b "American League Player of the Week July 1991". MLB.com. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  11. ^ "San Diego All-Star Game chance to see how far MLB has come since 1992". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Major League Baseball Players Who Won Player of the Month". Baseball-Almanac. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  13. ^ "1992 Game Logs". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  14. ^ "Batting Average Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  15. ^ a b "Seattle Team Records for Single Season". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  16. ^ a b "Silver Slugger Awards". Louisville Slugger. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  17. ^ Finnigan, Bob (October 4, 2004). "Memories of Edgar". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on October 14, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2008.
  18. ^ "Game Summary of 1994 Season Opener". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  19. ^ "JAWS and the 2017 Hall of Fame ballot: Edgar Martinez". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  20. ^ Ross Newhan (17 November 1995). "Voters Like Vaughn Best in AL : Baseball: Boston first baseman wins MVP award by narrow margin over Belle, whose disposition may have cost him". LA Times.
  21. ^ "Martinez is beloved by Seattle fans ; what about Hall voters?". ESPN.com. September 25, 2004. Archived from the original on October 26, 2012.
  22. ^ Goodbye, Edgar: He hopes to "enjoy the moment" in next 7 weeks seattletimes.com
  23. ^ Johns, Greg. "Mariners to retire Edgar's No. 11 in August". Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  24. ^ Stone, Larry (January 24, 2007). "Edgar Martinez to be inducted into Mariners' Hall of Fame". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on October 14, 2012.
  25. ^ Matt Snyder (December 25, 2013). "Martinez HOF case". CBS Sports. Archived from the original on December 26, 2013. Retrieved December 25, 2013.
  26. ^ Perry, Julien. "Look Inside Edgar's Cantina at Safeco Field". seattle.eater.com. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  27. ^ Rose, Charlie (2013). "Charlie Rose: October 16, 2013". Charlie Rose Show. Bloomberg News: 34:00.
  28. ^ Booth, Randy (April 8, 2010). "Nobody Can Beat Mariano Rivera -- Except This Lineup". SB Nation. Archived from the original on November 9, 2013. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  29. ^ DeMartino, Joe (May 7, 2015). "Here are the five toughest hitters Pedro Martinez ever had to face". ESPN. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  30. ^ Bob Finnigan (2000). "Edgar Martinez - Mariners' hitting machine". Baseball Digest. CSN Sports Network. 59 (11): 23.[dead link]
  31. ^ Branded Solutions by Edgar Martínez Archived July 20, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ "Launchers: risk takers who started companies or causes". Puget Sound Business Journal. December 25, 2005. Archived from the original on January 1, 2006.
  33. ^ Ken Rosenthal (6 May 2001). "Martinez keeps hits coming despite an eye disorder". Sporting News.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Kirby Puckett
Manny Ramírez
Jermaine Dye
Alfonso Soriano
AL Player of the Month
July & August 1992
June 1995
May 2000
May 2003
Succeeded by
Frank Thomas
G. Anderson
Albert Belle
Jason Giambi