Edgar Martinez: The Face of the Seattle Mariners

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COMMENTARY | Every team has a few superstar players on their roster that opposing teams hate to face.

The Seattle Mariners have had their fair share of such players: Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Ichiro Suzuki. But one player on the Mariners team will forever be remembered as a legend: Edgar Martinez.

Few players have impacted the game of baseball, or a single franchise, like Edgar Martinez has. Edgar played all 18 seasons (1987-2004) for the same ballclub, wearing the Seattle Mariners uniform. Over this span, he accumulated numerous on field achievements, first as a third basemen, and then later as a designated hitter. He is one of just eight players in history to have 300 home runs, 500 doubles, a career batting average of over .300, a career on-base percentage higher than .400, and a career slugging percentage higher than .500. He garnered 5 Silver Slugger Awards, 3 American League OBP titles, 2 American League batting titles, and was a 7-time All-Star.

He has been inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame (2003), and the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame (2011).

He is also known for changing the perception of the DH position. He was a five-time winner of the Designated Hitter of the Year Award, and his hitting prowess as a DH will forever be remembered as the award was renamed the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award upon his retirement.

Edgar Martinez was also the one steady constant in every Mariners postseason game (1995, 1997, 2000, 2001). He is responsible for one of the biggest individual hits of all time in franchise history, "The Double." This hit, a double in Game 5 of the ALDS, drove in Joey Cora and Ken Griffey Jr. to give the Mariners a 6-5 victory in the 11th inning over the New York Yankees. This was a defining moment in an unprecedented run of 1995. A Refuse to Lose campaign, the Mariners were 13 games back from first place at the beginning of August and launched a comeback to win their first division title and postseason trip in franchise history. Edgar Martinez was the hero of this series.

In addition to his on-field achievements, and they are numerous, Edgar Martinez has embraced the Seattle community and demonstrated a commitment to giving back. Amidst hundreds of causes he supports, Edgar hosts the annual Edgar Martinez Golf Classic to help raise funds for Muscular Dystrophy. He also has established the Martinez Foundation, whose mission is to "prepare and support diverse and highly qualified teachers who will raise expectations, accelerate learning, and close the achievement gap by granting scholarships and promoting innovative social justice curricula" (edgarmartinez.com). Their goal is to ensure that every student in the state of Washington has access to effective teachers. His dedication to his community and philanthropy earned him the Roberto Clemente (his childhood hero) Award in 2004. He was also inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in 2007.

Edgar Martinez is the face of the Seattle Mariners franchise. He is one of the most prolific hitters in the history of the game of baseball, and particularly for the DH position. In conjunction with his charitable contributions, Edgar was a key player in Mariners history, and the Mariners have cemented his place at Safeco Field this past season with a new Latin inspired Restaurant and Patio named "Edgar's." The city of Seattle has honored Edgar with his own street "Edgar Martinez Drive South," running adjacent to the ballpark. His success on and off the field while with the Seattle Mariners, and now in his retirement, is unparalleled.

He is Edgar Martinez, the legend.

A native Washingtonian, Brianna Brooks is an avid sports enthusiast who has been following the Seattle Mariners since the "Refuse to Lose" run in 1995. From the Kingdome to Safeco Field, she has experienced the ebb and flow of the Mariners' seasons and has translated her passion for baseball into freelance writing.

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