SEATTLE -- As Edgar Martinez is finally headed to Cooperstown, here are 11 favorite moments from No. 11's career with the Mariners.1. The Double
Without a doubt, this is the magical memory most associated with Martinez by Mariners fans. With the Mariners trailing the Yankees, 5-4, in the bottom of
SEATTLE -- As Edgar Martinez is finally headed to Cooperstown, here are 11 favorite moments from No. 11's career with the Mariners.
1. The Double
Without a doubt, this is the magical memory most associated with Martinez by Mariners fans. With the Mariners trailing the Yankees, 5-4, in the bottom of the 11th of the deciding fifth game of the 1995 American League Division Series in the Kingdome, Joey Cora reached on a bunt and Ken Griffey Jr. singled to put runners on first and third. Up strode Edgar, who drove an 0-1 pitch from Jack McDowell down the left-field line to score both runners, resulting in the momentous scene of Griffey grinning from the bottom of the pile at home plate and Edgar swarmed by teammates at second. The walkoff double was one of three hits by Edgar in a game that sent the Mariners to the AL Championship Series and many credit with saving baseball in Seattle, as the momentum of the franchise's first playoff season led to the building of Safeco Field.
2. Grand salami time
It's less recalled than the double, but a day earlier, Edgar's grand slam broke a 6-6 tie in Game 4 of the ALDS against the Yankees and set up the following night's drama. In this one on Oct. 7, 1995, bottom of the eighth, bases loaded in front of another raucous sellout crowd in the Kingdome, Martinez unleashed the go-ahead blast to dead center field, scoring Vince Coleman, Cora and Junior. Martinez also hit a three-run homer in the third to keep the Mariners in the game after they'd fallen behind, 5-0, and wound up with three hits, a walk and seven RBIs in the 11-8 win.
3. He loved the playoffs
Martinez's postseason heroics weren't limited to the Yankees. He went deep off Chuck Finley on the first pitch he saw in the first inning of Game 2 of the 2001 ALDS to give Seattle a 4-0 lead against Cleveland, en route to a 5-1 win as the Mariners evened a series they'd go on to win, 3-2, and advance to that year's ALCS against the Yankees. Martinez had two homers and a double along with five RBIs in the series.
4. The curtain call
Martinez's final game came at Safeco Field on Oct. 3, 2004, and Edgar ended it right. Though the final box score wasn't drawn up by Hollywood -- an 0-for-4 in a 3-0 loss to the Rangers -- there were enough goosebumps and moist eyes to last a lifetime as Martinez circled the stadium to exchange high fives with every fan along the rail at game's end.
• Martinez's career timeline
5. Third time -- or time at third -- was the charm
Martinez hadn't played third base since July 2, 1997, until manager Bob Melvin sent him out to the hot corner in the ninth inning of his second-to-last game at Safeco, on Oct. 2, 2004, against the Rangers. Melvin only left his aging star there for one pitch -- an outside fastball taken by Aaron Taylor -- before replacing him with Willie Bloomquist. But the crowd went crazy and the game had to be stopped after Martinez left the field, before he returned to tip his cap to the Seattle faithful.
6. Where it all began
Martinez was never known for his speed. But the first hit of his career? A triple, of course. It came in front of a sparse Kingdome crowd of 7,839 on Sept. 14, 1987. As a late-season callup getting his first career start, he laced a shot to center leading off the second inning against the Indians' Reggie Ritter. Martinez turned out to be an extra-base machine in his 18-year career, ripping 514 doubles and 309 home runs. But that was one of just 15 triples in his 8,674 plate appearances.
7. A trophy in his name
Martinez was such a dominant force at designated hitter that then-Commissioner Bud Selig decided to name the annual outstanding DH award after him upon his retirement. Selig made the announcement during Martinez's retirement ceremony at Safeco Field during his last weekend as a player. Martinez had won five of the DH honors before his name was placed permanently on the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter of the Year trophy.
8. Milestone moments
Martinez always bedeviled the Yankees, and he did it once again in his final season when he drove in four runs in a 6-2 victory on May 7, 2004, with his 500th career double and 299th home run. The double was a two-run shot off Jon Lieber to give Seattle a 2-0 lead and led to a standing ovation from the Safeco crowd of 46,491, but Martinez missed his curtain call because he'd broken his bat earlier in the count and was in the clubhouse finding a replacement.
Five days later, he ripped his 300th career homer off Brad Radke in Minnesota, becoming the sixth player in MLB history to reach 300 homers, 500 doubles and 1,000 walks with a .300-plus average and .400-plus on-base percentage. The first five to accomplish that feat: Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial and Rogers Hornsby.
9. Following Clemente's footsteps
Martinez had plenty of moments away from the diamond as well, devoting considerable time and effort to community projects and charities in his adopted home of Seattle. While the humble Martinez never pushed for publicity for his charitable efforts, he was bestowed the Roberto Clemente Award in 2004 in honor of his community service. Martinez became the first Puerto Rican to win the prestigious award and credited Clemente with being the player who inspired him to play baseball as a child.
10. Slammin' good times
On Aug. 29, 2000, Edgar launched his third grand slam of the season, a two-out shot in the bottom of the eighth off Jeff Nelson to give Seattle a 5-3 win over the Yankees. Martinez's slam scored Carlos Guillen, Rickey Henderson and Stan Javier after Andy Pettitte had loaded the bases and Nelson struck out A-Rod for the second out. Martinez led the AL with 145 RBIs that season and hit a career-high 37 homers.
11. It's a light bat!
Edgar was a commercial success in Seattle as well, with his understated dry humor in Mariners TV spots only further cementing his popularity with fans. They got endless chuckles from Martinez using power tools to carve out a "light bat," to inventing the "clapper" to turn the lights on and off at Safeco Field or teaching English words like "gooey duck" and local city "Puyallup" to Mariners rookies. And he capped things off perfectly with his "mic drop" bat flip demonstration to Mariners home run hitters while serving as hitting coach in 2017.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.