National Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson announced this afternoon on the MLB Network that Mariners legend Edgar Martinez was among four players elected today into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2019.
Martinez becomes the 2nd Mariner to be elected to the Hall of Fame – joining 2016 inductee Ken Griffey Jr. – and joins Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay and Mike Mussina in being elected today, as well as Harold Baines and Lee Smith, who were voted in by the Today’s Game Era committee, in this year’s class. In his 10th, and final, year on the ballot, Martinez received 85.4% (363×425) of the vote. Candidates need at least 75% of the vote for election. Hall of Fame voters consist of members of the Baseball Writers Association of America with at least 10 consecutive years covering baseball. This year’s induction will take place on Sunday, July 21 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY.
“Edgar Martinez was one of the best right-handed hitters of all-time and ranked among the most feared hitters of his era,” Mariners President & Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mather said. “He is most deserving of induction into the Hall of Fame, and the Mariners are thrilled to see him receive the highest honor in the game of baseball. Since signing with the club in 1982, Edgar has epitomized what it means to be a Mariner, making great contributions on the field and in the community. We look forward to celebrating Edgar’s induction in Cooperstown this July along with Mariners fans who have witnessed every step of his career.”
Edgar was the best right-handed hitter of his era and ranks as one of the top all-around hitters in baseball history, combining power with the ability to reach base safely. Over 18 Major League seasons – all in a Mariners uniform – Martinez compiled a .312 career batting average with a lifetime .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 the modern era to record a career batting average of at least .310, a career on-base percentage of at least .410 and a career slugging percentage of at least .510 (5,000 PA). Among players with at least 6,000 career plate appearances, only five have bested each leg of Edgar’s .312/.418/.515 career triple slash line: Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Jimmie Foxx, Babe Ruth, and Ted Williams.
His .418 on-base percentage ranks 17th-best since 1901, including 4th-best by right-handed batters. From 1995-97, Edgar posted an on-base mark of at least .450 in 3 straight seasons, becoming 1 of 10 players all-time to accomplish this feat. In 1995, he posted a .479 on-base percentage, the 6th-highest single-season mark by a right-handed batter in the modern era.
Martinez made seven appearances in the All-Star Game, earned two batting titles, won five Silver Sluggers and garnered five Outstanding Designated Hitter Awards. Upon his retirement, Major League Baseball renamed the Outstanding Designated Hitter Award the Edgar Martinez Award. He is 1 of 10 right-handed batters to win multiple American League batting titles.
Off the field, Edgar was honored by Major League Baseball with the Roberto Clemente Award in 2004. Upon Edgar’s retirement in 2004, the Mariners established the Edgar Martinez Endowment for Muscular Dystrophy Research at Seattle Children’s Hospital. The City of Seattle renamed a section of South Atlantic Street (which runs alongside the ballpark) Edgar Martinez Drive in 2004. In 2007, he was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame.
One of two players to have their respective numbers retired by the club (also: Ken Griffey Jr.), Edgar is one of the pillars of the Mariners franchise. He is the club’s career leader in games, runs, doubles, RBI, walks, total bases, extra-base hits and on-base percentage while also ranking in the top-5 in batting, at-bats, hits, home runs, slugging percentage and OPS. He is 1 of 9 players in Major League history to record at least 2,000 hits, 500 doubles, 300 home runs, 1,200 RBI and 1,200 walks with one club, joining Hank Aaron, Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Chipper Jones and Todd Helton.
After signing with the club as a non-drafted free agent on Dec. 19, 1982, Edgar made his Major League debut in 1987 at the age of 24 and played his first full Major League season in 1990. Two seasons later, Edgar won his first of two batting titles while also tying for the league-lead in doubles (46) and ranking 2nd in slugging (.544), 4th in on-base percentage (.404), 5th in extra-base hits (67), 7th in hits (181) and T8th in runs (100). During the seven-year span from 1995-2001, Edgar was a dominant offensive force, batting .329 with a .446 on-base percentage and a .574 slugging percentage. He also recorded 291 doubles in 1,020 games. He led the Majors in doubles, while ranking 2nd in on-base percentage, 5th in batting and 14th in slugging during this span.
Martinez was the author of several of the biggest hits in Mariners postseason history, including the iconic double that scored Ken Griffey Jr. with the winning run in Game 5 of the 1995 Division Series to defeat the New York Yankees. He became the first player in MLB history to drive in 7 runs in a single postseason game in Game 4 of the ’95 series, hitting a 3-run home run and a grand slam home run as the Mariners erased a 5-0 deficit to stave off elimination. In Game 4 of the 2001 Division Series at Cleveland, he drilled a 2-out, 2-run homer in the 9th inning (another elimination game for Seattle) to break open a 4-2 game. Edgar’s .781 career slugging percentage in League Division Series games is tops among players with at least 50 career plate appearances in League Division Series history.
Beginning in 2019, Edgar will work as the Mariners Organizational Hitting Advisor. The 2018 campaign was Martinez’s fourth season as the Mariners Major League hitting coach after being hired on June 20, 2015.
Edgar resides in Bellevue, WA with his wife, Holli, son, Alexander and daughters, Tessa and Jacqueline.