Edgar Martínez

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Note: This page links to Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez. For the former Red Sox farmhand and Futures Game performer, click here.

2004 Topps Heritage #219 Edgar Martinez

Edgar Martínez
(Gar or Papi)

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2019

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

"I've faced a lot of Hall of Fame hitters, and my gosh, Edgar is the best hitter that I ever saw...You know when you love something and you carry it around with you? When I got to Seattle, Edgar was walking around with bat all the time...I'd look at the top of his locker and he would have his bats lined up and his own scale to weigh the bats. Who does that?" -Randy Johnson

Edgar Martinez was a major star during his 18 years in the major leagues, posting an Adjusted OPS of 147, tied with Mike Schmidt and Willie Stargell at #45 on the all-time list. His lifetime averages would be a dream year for most players: .312/.418/.515. He ranks #21 all-time for career on-base percentage (just above Stan Musial), and #63 all-time for career slugging percentage (just above Willie McCovey).

"The toughest guy I faced... was Edgar Martinez. He had to make me throw at least 13 fastballs above 95 [each time we faced]. I was hard breathing after that. Edgar was a guy that had the ability to foul off pitches, and it pissed me off because I couldn't get the guy out." -Pedro Martinez

Martinez was signed as a free agent for the Seattle Mariners by scouts Coco Laboy and Marty Martinez on December 19, 1982. He spent his entire career with the Mariners, playing from age 24 to age 41. He started as a third baseman, and couldn't find an everyday big league job until he was 27 years old. Most of the games during his career were as a designated hitter, which he did almost exclusively for the last nine years of his career. His best year was 1995, when he finished 3rd in the MVP voting, with a .356 batting average, 116 walks, 52 doubles, 29 home runs, 113 RBI and 121 runs scored. A model of consistency, he did not go more than eight at bats without a hit the entire year. His double to win the ALDS against the New York Yankees that October remains the most dramatic moment in the Mariners history.

Although Martinez never won an MVP award, he was a seven-time All-Star, and led the league twice in batting, three times in on-base percentage, twice in doubles, once in runs scored, and once in RBIs. Although not thought of as a slugger, Martinez had 309 home runs in his career, putting him at #100 on the all-time list. Although he never appeared in a World Series, he was a valuable contributor on the great 2001 Seattle Mariners that won 116 games during the regular season.

When he retired, he held two significant marks that were, ironically, surpassed on the same day by different players: on April 2, 2011, David Ortiz drove in his 1003rd run as a DH, surpassing Martinez's career RBI record at the position, and Ichiro Suzuki overtook him for most hits in Mariners history. Still, in 2004, just after his retirement, MLB renamed its annual award for the best DH as the "Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award". He himself won the award five times before its change of name, which was a record until Ortiz came along.

His candidacy for the Hall of Fame runs into the obstacle that voters know how to evaluate players who hit 400+ home runs or had 3000+ hits, but Martinez has neither. In addition, many voters considered the DH somehow impure, and penalized Martinez accordingly. Despite allegations that his move to DH was caused by subpar defense at the hot corner, Baseball-Reference ranks him at +17 Defensive Runs, compared to the average Third Baseman. Those voters are not so clear on how to evaluate a player like Martinez who had a .312 batting average (remember, Dale Mitchell hit .312 but was not seriously considered), with 2247 hits (Al Oliver was a batting champ with 2743 hits who was dropped from the ballot when he didn't get enough votes the first year of eligibility), 1219 runs scored, 1261 RBI, 309 home runs, and 514 doubles. None of those alone is enough to get in, so the question will be if the voters can evaluate the package as a whole. It should also be borne in mind by Hall of Fame voters that Edgar Martinez did not enjoy his first full season in the big leagues until the age of 27. Appropriate comparisons might therefore be made to other late bloomers who eventually made it to the Hall of Fame, such as the pitcher Dazzy Vance. In voting totals for the Hall of Fame released in 2010, Martinez received 36.2% of the vote; he fell to 32.9% in 2011 but bounced up to 36.5% in 2012 and fell back to 35.9% in 2013, his candidacy apparently stalled. He had another big fall in 2014, when almost all holdovers saw their vote total decrease because of a strong first-year class; he was at 25.2% and well down the list of candidates. He moved up slightly, to 27% in 2015, then moved up significantly, to 43.4% in 2016. In 2017, he passed the 50% threshold, with 58.6% of the vote, and putting him in very good position to be elected in his final two years of eligibility, especially as his cause was now espoused by a number of influential writers. He fell just 20 votes short of election in 2018, receiving 70.4% of the vote, making him a heavy favorite to cross the bar in his final year of eligibility. He did manage to clear the bar, with room to spare, in 2019, when he received 85.4% of the vote. He had the quote of the day at the induction ceremony held on July 21st in Cooperstown, NY. He explained that after teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Randy Johnson was traded to the Houston Astros in 1998, he gave an interview that Johnson did not like. The hard-throwing Johnson told him: "Next time I face you, I will drill you. Don't worry, it will hurt, but only for a minute."

On June 20, 2015, he was hired by the Mariners as their hitting coach, replacing Howard Johnson. The Mariners retired his uniform number, 11, in a ceremony held on August 12, 2017. After the 2018 season, he resigned as the major league hitting coach, opting instead to become an organizational hitting coach in order to have a more flexible schedule.

He is a cousin of Carmelo Martinez.

Among some of the distinctions and honors received by Edgar Martinez are the following:

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 7-time AL All-Star (1992, 1995-1997, 2000, 2001 & 2003)
  • 5-time AL Silver Slugger Award Winner (1992/3B, 1995/DH, 1997/DH, 2001/DH & 2003/DH)
  • 2-time AL Batting Average Leader (1992 & 1995)
  • 3-time AL On-Base Percentage Leader (1995, 1998 & 1999)
  • AL OPS Leader (1995)
  • AL Runs Scored Leader (1995)
  • 2-time AL Doubles Leader (1992 & 1995)
  • AL RBI Leader (2000)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 8 (1995-2001 & 2003)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2000)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 6 (1995-1998, 2000 & 2001)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 5 (1992, 1995-1997 & 2000)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 2019

Further Reading[edit]

  • David Adler: "Edgar's stellar offense powers case for HOF", mlb.com, January 8, 2017. [1]
  • Kelli Anderson: "Lethal Weapon: Pitchers Know a Bat Is a Dangerous Tool in the Hands of Seattle's Relentless Edgar Martinez", Sports Illustrated, Volume 84, March 12, 1996. [2]
  • Associated Press: "In his final year Edgar Martinez gets call from Cooperstown", USA Today, January 22, 2019. [3]
  • Geoff Baker: "On Edgar Martinez and My Hall of Fame Vote", The Seattle Times, January 6, 2010. [4]
  • Geoff Baker: "Edgar Martinez Gets Another Hall of Fame Shot Tomorrow... But Not My Vote", The Seattle Times, January 4, 2011. [5]
  • Scott Boeck: "Baseball Hall of Fame countdown: Time for DH Edgar Martinez to join elite fraternity", USA Today, January 15, 2019. [6]
  • Chris Bumbaca: "Seattle Mariners' Edgar Martinez tells classic Randy Johnson anecdote during Hall of Fame induction speech", USA Today, July 21, 2019. [7]
  • Arne Christensen: "Reconsidering Edgar Martinez and the Hall of Fame", The Seattle Times, January 8, 2013. [8]
  • Neal Conan, host: "Interview: Alan Schwarz Discusses Whether Designated Hitters Should be Eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame Following the Recent Announcement of the Retirement of Edgar Martinez", Talk of the Nation, NPR, Washington, DC, transcript, August 12, 2004.
  • Edgar Martinez: Mariners Hall of Fame Induction Night, June 2, 2007, Seattle Mariners Baseball, Seattle, WA, 2007.
  • Tom Farrey: "Edgar Esta Caliente!: M's Quiet Martinez One of Baseball's Hottest 3rd Basemen", The Seattle Times, July 21, 1991, pp. C1-. [9]
  • Bob Finnigan: "Double Play: Cousin Carmelo Talked Edgar Martinez into Taking a Chance, Signing with M's", The Seattle Times, March 7, 1993, pp. C1-. [10]
  • Lew Freedman: "Edgar Martinez", in Latino Baseball Legends: An Encyclopedia, Greenwood, Santa Barbara, CA, 2010, pp. 137-145. ISBN 978-0313378676
  • Chris Haft: "Edgar's career packed with singular moments", mlb.com, January 1, 2022. [11]
  • Greg Johns: "Edgar short of Hall, but optimistic about '19: Every player who's received at least 70 percent eventually makes it to Cooperstown", mlb.com, January 24, 2018. [12]
  • Greg Johns: "Edgar patiently awaiting final push for HOF: Former Mariners DH was named on 70.4 percent of the ballots last year", mlb.com, November 19, 2018. [13]
  • Josh Lewin: "Edgar Martinez", in You Never Forget Your First: Ballplayers Recall Their Big League Debuts, Potomac Books Inc., Washington, DC, 2005, pp. 119-120. ISBN 978-1574889611
  • Edgar Martinez and Larry Stone: Edgar: An Autobiography, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2019. ISBN 978-1629377292
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "Hall of Fame countdown: Does DH role hurt Edgar Martinez's candidacy?", USA Today Sports, January 13, 2018. [14]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "Edgar Martinez down to final Hall of Fame shot after he falls 20 votes short of election", USA Today Sports, January 24, 2018. [15]
  • Jeff Pearlman: "Hot to Trot: At 37, Edgar Martinez Has Suddenly Caught Fire as a Home Run Hitter, while Keeping His Average Well Above .300", Sports Illustrated, Volume 93, Number 3, July 17, 2000, pp. 62-. [16]
  • Joe Posnanski: "Edgar was elite hitter, worthy of HOF induction: Martinez posted career .312 average, .418 on-base percentage", mlb.com, January 6, 2018. [17]
  • K R: "It's Tough to Give a Hall Pass to Edgar", Sporting News, Volume 228, Number 34, August 23, 2004, pp. 33-.
  • Bob Sherwin: "El Papa, Edgar Martinez: Mariners' Quiet DH Speaks Loudly in the Hearts of Latin Ballplayers", The Seattle Times, May 23, 1999, pp. D1-.
  • Bob Sherwin: "'El Papa'", Baseball Digest, Volume 58, Number 9, September 1999, pp. 61-.
  • Larry Stone: "Edgar Martinez as a Hall of Famer? The Road to Cooperstown Is Getting Tougher", The Seattle Times, December 12, 2014. [18]

Other Resources[edit]

  • Rich Waltz, narrator: You Gotta Love This Guy!: A Tribute to Edgar Martinez, FSN/Seattle Mariners, Seattle, WA, DVD, 2004.

Related Sites[edit]