At long last, Edgar Martinez’s waiting game is over. Photo by clare_and_ben/Flickr

At long last, Edgar Martinez’s waiting game is over. Photo by clare_and_ben/Flickr

Edgar Martinez Finally Makes the Hall of Fame

In his last year on the ballot, the Mariner legend and greatest designated hitter of all time gets the Cooperstown call.

Well that took a decade longer than it should have. (We can put away the pitchforks and torches now.)

After 10 years on the ballot — and in his final year of eligibility — Mariner legend and batting savant Edgar Martinez will finally be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. After nine years of falling short of showing up on 75 percent of the voting baseball writers’ ballots, a continued groundswell of support helped Martinez earn 85.4 percent this time around. He will be joined in the 2019 class by Yankees closer Mariano Rivera and starting pitchers Roy Halladay and Mike Mussina. Martinez and his peers will officially enter the Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Cooperstown on July 21.

Martinez was absolutely undeniable as a hitter. In addition to being a two-time batting champ and seven-time All Star, his career batting line sits at a stellar .312/.418/.515. He ranks 21st all time in on-base percentage, and had more career walks than strikeouts. The popular player value stat WAR (wins above replacement) severely penalizes designated hitters for not playing in the field, yet Martinez still managed to put up 68.3 career WAR, more than the average Hall of Famer.

For those who decry the stat nerds, Edgar was arguably the most-feared hitter of his time, according to the top pitchers of the era. His Hall of Fame classmate Mariano Rivera once said, “The toughest [hitter] — and thank God he retired — [was] Edgar Martinez. Oh, my God. I think every pitcher will say that, because this man was tough.” Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez agreed: “The toughest guy I faced, I think, with all due respect to all of the players in the league, has to be Edgar Martinez. He would make me throw at least 13 fastballs above 95 [mph]. I would be hard-breathing after that. Edgar was a guy who had the ability to foul off pitches, and it pissed me off when I had to throw 13 pitches to get a guy out.” And because things are better in threes, HOFer Randy Johnson, a longtime teammate of Martinez, also concurred: “Edgar Martinez is, hands down, the best hitter that I’ve ever seen. I’m glad I didn’t have to face him too much. Having seen him play from ’89 to all the way when I left, I got to see him a lot against great pitchers. Like I said, hands down, he is the best pure hitter that I got to see on a nightly basis.”

The cases against Marintez were always largely based on him playing DH instead of a defensive position for the majority of his career. The arguments were absurd not only because players like Frank Thomas — who started at DH in 57.4 percent of his games — were already enshrined, but inferior hitters who hurt their teams with their defense were HOFers (see: Rabbit Maranville, a infielder who had 30-plus errors in 12 separate seasons). On top of that, Edgar even won a batting title in 1992 while playing as a third baseman, before injuries made playing the position less feasible. And for heaven’s sake, the award Major League Baseball gives out every season to the best DH is the Edgar Martinez Award.

For Mariners fans, Edgar Martinez means more than any numbers can quantify. Not only did Martinez provide the franchise’s signature moment — driving in the game-winning run that clinched the 1995 American League Divisional Series (while it’s often referred to as “The Slide,” “The Double” is far more accurate) — but he was the pure Mariner. With Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, and Alex Rodriguez, the franchise saw plenty of all-time greats in the 1990s, but Edgar was the constant. When the others left via free agency or trades, Martinez held down the fort. In modern sports, a truly great talent playing his entire career with one team is a total anomaly, one that builds a bond of loyalty between the player and his fan base.

Edgar Martinez is more beloved in Seattle than the Mariners franchise itself. And finally, finally, our guy is a Hall of Famer.




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in Sports

Mind over miles: Thoughts from the Seattle Half Marathon
Mind over miles: Thoughts from the Seattle Half Marathon

Reporter runs the 13.1-mile race in 2:01:40.

UW Senior WR Andre Baccellia scores on a 5-yard pass from QB Jacob Eason.
Huskies fall to Ducks, 35-31 | Photos

The University of Washington Huskies fell to the Oregon Ducks, 35-31, on… Continue reading

Wilson’s 4 TDs, late field goal miss helps Hawks edge Rams
Wilson’s 4 TDs, late field goal miss helps Hawks edge Rams

Russell Wilson led a late scoring drive and a 44-yard attempt was barely wide in Seattle’s 30-29 win.

Marysville Olympian, honored Wednesday, found dead at 42
Marysville Olympian, honored Wednesday, found dead at 42

Jarred Rome was in town for his induction into the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame.

Spread the wealth? Money crunch is coming for Seahawks
Spread the wealth? Money crunch is coming for Seahawks

Seattle has one more season before its big-spending ramifications truly kick in.

Talia Walton in high school playing for Federal Way in the state championships. File photo
Former UW Husky, WNBA player takes over Renton scholastic sports

Federal Way HS basketball alum Talia Walton aims to rally the community around sports.

A Decatur High School student in Federal Way participates in a conditioning workout in Feb. 2021 as the state eased back in to in-person activities. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
State announces mask requirements for student sports, performing arts

Athletes are not required to wear masks when participating in sports of any contact level while outside.

Screenshot of video obtained by Redmond police shows Richard Sherman trying to break into the Redmond home of his in-laws.
Former Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman charged with five misdemeanors in King County

Charges were filed following an incident at home of Sherman’s in-laws in Redmond.

Screenshot
Redmond Police arrest former Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman

Redmond Police allege former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman crashed into a… Continue reading

Snoqualmie Casino unveiled the first immersive Seahawks-branded table game experience Sept. 18, 2020, in a ribbon cutting dedication with Snoqualmie Tribe Council members and Snoqualmie Casino executives. Courtesy photo
Gambling Commission OKs pacts with tribes for sports betting

Agreements with 15 tribes await approval by the governor and the feds.

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports

The Mercer Island boys basketball celebrates their 61-36 victory over Interlake in the 3A KingCo championship game on Feb. 11, 2020, at Sammamish High School. File photo
WIAA pushes back return to play for prep sports

Season 2 now begins Feb. 1 and seasons have been shortened to seven weeks each.