This day is long past due. But, there is no time like the present. Finally, we are proud to officially induct Edgar Martinez into the Cook & Son Hall of Fame:
Edgar is a new breed of Cook & Son Hall of Famer. He retired two years before Tim was born so he hasn’t played a role in any father-son baseball moments for us. But, I watched him play in countless games with my parents, wife and friends during his career.
Unfortunately, Edgar played most of his career before the age of digital cameras. So I have very few pictures of him from his playing days. Lately, I have been searching for this one…
…which my mom snapped when we were up close to Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner at “camera night” at the Kingdome. This picture was from either 1990 or 1991 during the brief period when the Mariners had two Ken Griffeys.
Edgar was one of the most loved Mariners during his playing days, and he continues to be one of the most loved Mariners today. For several years, a sign hung from the Kingdome’s 200 Level near home plate that prominently reminded everyone that “Edgar Esta Caliente.”
And, indeed, Edgar was “caliente.”
Between 1990-2001, Edgar was hurt for large parts of two seasons. But in the other ten seasons, Edgar hit .302, .307, .343, .356, .327, .330, .322, .337, .324, and .306.
In one of my few action shots of Edgar, this picture shows Edgar’s familar batting stance:
One interesting Edgar Martinez memory from my past comes to mind. It occurred around 1991-92 in the Kingdome. I was at the game with my folks and one of my friends. My friend and I were sitting in the first row down the 3B line near the home plates in the visitors’ bullpen. My parents were in the second row just behind us (in our actual seats). Edgar was playing 3B and Randy Johnson was pitching. I was playing the role of the Steve Bartman character (but without the unhappy ending).
I have no memory of who the Mariners were playing or who was at the plate. The batter fouled a high looping pop fly right to me. My mom was listening to the game on a set of earphones and, when Edgar and I clanked gloves, she heard Dave Neihaus call out in dissappointment, “Oh, no!!! A fan made Edgar miss the ball!”
Edgar picked up the baseball and tossed it back to me, but someone interfered and the ball once again fell to the astroturf below. The ball girl ran over and ended up giving the baseball to someone else (or maybe she kept it…bottom line, she didn’t give it back to me).
The happy ending: Randy Johnson struck out the batter on the next pitch.
And that’s the story of how I prevented Edgar Martinez from making a put out and thereby directly effected Randy Johnson’s career strike out total (4,875 rather than a mere 4,874).
Of course, in the 1995 ALDS, Edgar hit a grandslam in game 4 to force a game 5. Then, in game 5, Edgar hit a “The Double” scoring Joey Cora for the tie and Ken Griffey, Jr. from first to send the Mariners to their first ever ALCS. It is the defining moment and pinnacle of success in the Mariners 33 year history.
When we visited Seattle in October, I got the opportunity to attend an Edgar Martinez Foundation event and meet the man himself:
The event was an silent/live auction and dinner program that benefited the Martinez Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to education issues. It was a great event and a lot of fun. In fact, it was by far the most fun I have ever had at a charity dinner event.
I attended with my buddy, Paul, and a couple of Paul’s friends. When I saw Edgar walking around during the silent auction, I didn’t hesitate to go say hello. Paulie was quick with his iPhone and snapped that picture above.
Then, Paulie handed off his phone to Nikki — a friend from high school — and she snapped this picture:
Edgar was the third person inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame (following Alvin Davis and Dave Niehaus). So, I took the opportunity to discuss the Mariners Hall of Fame with Edgar. My first question:
Todd – “You know who needs to be inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame?”
Edgar – “Who?”
Todd – “Harold Reynolds!”
Edgar – “Absolutely!” (or some positive term of agreement like that).
I asked how we make that happen and Edgar was at a loss for an answer. Eventually, we discussed that I should run an online campaign for Harold to be inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame. Its a lot more ambitious of a concept than our (successful) campaign to get ice cream helmets at Camden Yards last season, but I think its worth a shot. So, watch for that.
Harold will have his day. This day, however, is for “Gar.” It was a thrill to have such an excellent human being and ballplayer wear a Mariners uniform for his entire career. And it is an honor to now induct Edgar Martinez as the fourth member of the Mariners Hall of Fame.
A couple parting notes, for a long time, Edgar’s 2,247 hits have been an all-time Mariners record. That record, however, will be broken in April 2011 after Ichiro collects 4 more hits to pass Edgar has the all-time Mariners hit record. It has been great having a true Mariners hero lead the hit parade for so many season.
Finally, I would like to thank Edgar for being so nice in person and signing these baseball cards for my boys: