Forever a fan favorite, Edgar Martinez (Getty)
When Seattle Mariners' designated hitter Edgar Martinez stepped to the plate Sunday afternoon for the final time in his illustrious 18-year career, the collective lump in the throats of millions of M’s fans gathered tightly and stuck right at the top of the human esophagus.
This was it, his last at-bat as a Seattle Mariner and his last appearance in a Major League Baseball game. The organization honored the greatest DH of all time on Saturday night, but Sunday’s game was the last of 2,055 games that Martinez would play.
It was Gar's 7,213th and final at-bat after posting a .312 career average with 309 home runs.
Edgar stepped to the plate wearing Mariner blue 8, 820 times and brought joy to Mariner fans in each and every plate appearance. From the two batting titles he won in 1992 and 1995 to the 2,247 hits and 1,261 runs batted in during his 18 seasons in baseball.
And who could possibly forget the shot heard ‘round the Dome. Known simply as “The Double” around these parts, Edgar’s game-winning two-bagger is clearly the greatest moment in Seattle Mariner history and nobody with a heartbeat and a blood supply can shake off the goose bumps when they see the replay of that October night.
Edgar Martinez was a great hitter, widely considered one of the greatest hitters of his time. But Gar was more than that to the fans in Seattle, much more.
He was the constant symbol of Mariner baseball.
The prodigal son, Ken Griffey Jr, forced a trade. Edgar stayed. The best all-around player in baseball, Alex Rodriguez, left via free agency. Edgar stayed.
Through all of the good, the bad, and ugly, Edgar Martinez was there. He served as a security blanket for fans to turn to when things weren’t going so well. When the club wasn’t winning, they knew Edgar would be there to make things a little easier to take. Win or lose, base hit or strikeout, Edgar Martinez was there. Edgar never left baseball. He never left Seattle. And he never, ever left the hearts of Mariner fans.
Nor did Mariner fans ever leave the heart of Edgar Martinez.
For nearly two decades he wore No. 11 and took his bat up to the plate and gave it his all. Sometimes he was successful. Sometimes he wasn’t. But when it counted the most, Edgar was up to the task.
He did the same outside the batter’s box, giving his time to local charities and always lending a smile to anyone he came across.
Edgar Martinez may or may not make the Hall of Fame. That is a debate for another day. But what isn’t debatable is the class and loyalty that he showed every single person he came into contact with for the duration of his entire career.
There have been better hitters in baseball. I won’t even begin to argue that. There have even been better players in the Mariners’ organization. With Griffey and Rodriguez as part of the Mariner lore, that probably isn’t an argument either.
But I’ll beg to differ, and fight you to the bitter end, if you try and tell me that there is a classier gentleman that has ever graced any playing surface in the history of sports than Mr. Edgar Martinez.
If you said so, you’d be wrong.
The only regretful event is that Edgar wasn’t able to go out a winner. This season was over in May and surely wasn’t the kind of sendoff season that Martinez deserved.
But again, as if we should expect any different, Edgar handled it with class and put forth his best effort no matter what scenario presented itself. Through sore hamstring’s, broken toes, and tired muscles and bones, Edgar was there.
We at InsidethePark.com salute you Edgar Martinez for all you have done on and off the field. For all the hits, all the smiles, and all the proud and memorable moments you gave us - Thank You.
You’ve brought a sense of pride to the organization and city like no other has ever done before you. Good luck with your retirement and enjoy your well-deserved time with your family. We love you and we will miss you more than you may ever know.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again.
No disrespect to Alvin Davis, but Edgar Martinez will forever be “Mr. Mariner."
So long Edgar.