At the end of the 2004 baseball season, EDGAR MARTINEZ announced his retirement after 18 years in the Major Leagues, all with one team – the Seattle Mariners. One of baseball’s best hitters, Edgar is once again on the 2017-2018 National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum ballot, his ninth time to appear on the ballot. Martinez earned 58.6% percent of the vote in 2017, continuing his steady climb in percentage. Edgar’s increase in votes of 15.2% from 2016 to 2017 was the 2nd-largest gain of any returning player on the ballot (see box at right).
Edgar became the Mariners regular third baseman in 1990 at the age of 27. In his first 2 seasons, he proved to be a good defensive third baseman and was the 1992 AL batting champion, the first of his 2 batting titles. Injuries limited him in 1993 and 1994, and manager Lou Piniella moved him to designated hitter in 1995, the position he primarily played the rest of his career.
Edgar was very simply one of the top all-around hitters of his era as well as in baseball history. He combined power (best exemplified by his slugging percentage) with the ability to reach base safely (among the best in on-base percentage), both at rates that rank high on the all-time lists of Hall of Fame hitters. From 1990 (when he became a regular) to his retirement in 2004, the Mariners posted a .512 winning percentage, and were one of just 11 MLB teams to win more than 1,200 games.
Edgar’s skills on the field were only outshone by his character off the field. In addition to being beloved by teammates and respected by opponents, Edgar was (and is) an important benefactor to his community. He moved to Seattle when he joined the Mariners and never left. Following the 2004 season, he was recognized with the Roberto Clemente Award, and in 2007 he was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame.
EDGAR MARTINEZ: PRAISE FROM HIS PEERS
“Edgar deserves to be in [the Hall of Fame]…There are a lot of guys with similar numbers who should be there, and Edgar’s definitely one of them. He carried the team for a period of time. He was one of the most feared hitters in the game for 10-plus years.” — Ken Griffey Jr., HOF ’16
“Edgar Martinez is, hands down, the best hitter that I’ve ever seen…he is the best pure hitter that I got to see on a nightly basis. And I hope that his time comes soon, that he gets a phone call stating that he’s a Hall of Fame player, because he is.” — Randy Johnson, HOF ‘15
“The toughest — and thank God he retired — Edgar Martinez…I think every pitcher will say that, because this man was tough.” — Mariano Rivera
“He [Edgar] was the best hitter I’ve ever seen. He was tough to get out. He was prepared…He gave Mariano [Rivera] a lot of trouble. He gave a lot of us a lot of trouble. He was unbelievable.” — Jorge Posada
“The toughest guy I faced I think — with all due respect to all the players in the league — was Edgar Martinez. He had to make me throw at least 13 fastballs above 95…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, HOF ‘15
“I remember when I was coming up, I used to watch a guy like Edgar hit and I was like, ‘This is ridiculous’…He’s a .312 career hitter. When you’re a career .312 hitter at this level, that means you pretty much got everything down.” — David Ortiz
“I think the writers have spoken in my case, and they will again in the future. They’re not going to hold [being a DH] against you. It’s part of the game and should be included as such. He [EDGAR] was one of the most feared right-handed hitters for a long time in this league. The amount of respect he has from peers speaks to the value of the offensive player he was.” — Paul Molitor, HOF ‘04
“A professional, quiet, humble giant and one of the best right-handed hitters ever seen.” — Dusty Baker
EDGAR MARTINEZ: AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
· 2 American League Batting Titles: 1992 (.343) and 1995 (.356)
· 3 American League On-Base Percentage Titles: 1995 (.479), 1998 (.429), 1999 (.447)
· 5 Silver Slugger Awards: 1992, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2003
· 5 Designated Hitter of the Year Awards: 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001 (now the Edgar Martinez Award)
· 6 Top-10 finishes in American League in Slugging Percentage: 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001
· 7 All-Star Game Appearances: 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2003
· Roberto Clemente Award: 2004
EDGAR MARTINEZ: CAREER OVERVIEW
EDGAR MARTINEZ was one of the top all-around hitters of his era as well as in baseball history. He combined power with the ability to reach base safely, both at rates that rank high on the all-time lists of Hall of Fame hitters.
Over his 18 Major League seasons — all in a Mariners uniform — Edgar hit .312 with a .418 on-base percentage and a .515 slugging percentage while amassing 1,219 runs, 2,247 hits, 514 doubles, 309 home runs, 1,261 RBI and 1,283 walks in 2,055 career games.
He is one of 14 players in Major League history to post a lifetime triple slash line of at least .310/.410/.510 in at least 5,000 career plate appearances. Of the 13 other players to do so, nine are Hall of Famers, and one is an active player.
EDGAR MARTINEZ: ONE OF THE GAME’S GREATS
EDGAR MARTINEZ is one of only 9 players in Major League history to have collected at least 300 home runs, 500 doubles and 1,000 walks while posting a batting average of .300 or better and an on-base percentage of .400 or better.
Edgar joins Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Todd Helton, Chipper Jones and Manny Ramirez as the only players to reach those plateaus over a career. Five of the other 8 players have been inducted into the Hall of Fame while Ramirez is in his 2nd year on the ballot, Jones is on the ballot for the first time in 2017, and Helton will be eligible next year.
EDGAR MARTINEZ: THE BATTING TITLES
EDGAR MARTINEZ became the first Mariner to win an American League batting title in 1992 when he led the AL with a .343 batting average. In 1992, Edgar also tied for the league-lead in doubles (46) and ranked 2nd in slugging (.544), 4th in on-base percentage (.404), 5th in extra-base hits (67), 7th in hits (181) and tied-for-8th in runs (100). Three seasons later, he became a two-time AL batting champion as he posted a league-leading .356 clip in 1995. His .356 average was the highest by a right-handed batting AL batting champion since Joe DiMaggio hit .381 in 1939. Edgar is one of 10 right-handed batters to win multiple batting titles in the American League, joining Nap Lajoie, Harry Heilmann, Al Simmons, Jimmie Foxx, Joe DiMaggio, Luke Appling, Nomar Garciaparra, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Altuve.