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 around him playing DH instead of a defensive position of 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. Between 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.

This story first appeared in Seattle Weekly

More in Sports

Auburn Riverside defenders bring down Kennedy Catholic’s Junior Alexander during North Puget Sound League Mountain Division action in Oct. 2018 at Auburn Memorial Stadium. Photo by Rachel Ciampi/Auburn Reporter
Lawmakers push concussion awareness and best practices in sports

SB 5238 requires University of Washington and Harborview Medical Center to compile research data

Viking girls roll into state regional basketball tournament

Inglemoor players thrive on and off the court.

North Creek Jaguars senior 170-pound wrestler Matt Kendrick, right, pinned Woodinville’s Nolan Downs, left, in the first round of the Mat Classic Class 4A state tournament on Feb. 15 at the Tacoma Dome. Photo courtesy of Don Borin/Stop Action Photography
Kendrick collects three wins at the Mat Classic

Reaching the second day of the Mat Classic Class 4A state tournament… Continue reading

Bothell Cougars wrestler Jay Smith, left, pinned North Creek’s Damon Wallace, right, in just 40 seconds in the first round of the Class 4A state wrestling tournament in the 182-pound weight division on Feb. 15 at the Tacoma Dome. Smith had an overall record of 2-2 at the tourney. Photo courtesy of Don Borin/Stop Action Photography
Smith earns two victories at the Mat Classic

Bothell Cougars senior wrestler Jay Smith may not have placed at the… Continue reading

Inglemoor girls set for 4A regional basketball action

Inglemoor’s girls basketball squad will compete in the 4A regional tournament at… Continue reading

Brandon hits his Stride with pair of state swim titles

North Creek senior was named 4A swimmer of the meet.

‘I just try to make sure our team stays positive’

North Creek’s Hudson makes the most of her senior year.

Soccer and hockey take center stage on vacation / Sports Scene

When you’re on vacation, you might as well pack as many vital… Continue reading

Basketball playoffs tip off for 4A KingCo boys and girls

The 4A KingCo girls basketball tournament tipped off Thursday night. In girls’… Continue reading

Most Read