SEATTLE -- When he first heard about it, Edgar Martinez was leery about raising his No. 11 flag atop Seattle's Space Needle and peering down to survey the city 570 feet below."Yeah, I don't like the heights too much," Martinez said in a press conference Thursday.Martinez didn't appear uneasy Friday
SEATTLE -- When he first heard about it, Edgar Martinez was leery about raising his No. 11 flag atop Seattle's Space Needle and peering down to survey the city 570 feet below.
"Yeah, I don't like the heights too much," Martinez said in a press conference Thursday.
Martinez didn't appear uneasy Friday as he ascended the steep metal steps to the roof of the city's iconic building. Accompanied by his wife, Holli, his son, Alex, and daughters, Tessa and Jacqueline, Martinez tugged, hand-over-hand, a 600-square foot, blue and teal No. 11 flag to the top of the needle. The flag will be on display through Saturday.
The flag-raising kicked off Edgar Martinez weekend at Safeco Field, in which his No. 11 jersey will be retired by the Mariners in a ceremony before Saturday's game against the Angels. A commemorative logo will adorn the players' uniforms and caps, and on the game balls from this weekend.
Martinez appeared overjoyed by the flattery provided by the moment. Mariners vice president of marketing, Kevin Martinez, introduced the baseball legend as "one of the most important men in our organization's history," citing his on- and off-the-field accomplishments.
Edgar Martinez was a seven-time All-Star, two-time batting champion and five-time Silver Slugger award winner in his 18-year Major League career, all with the Mariners. He retired at the end of the 2004 season with a career slash line of .312/.418/.515. Martinez won the Designated Hitter of the Year award five times and after his retirement, MLB renamed the award after him. He was also honored with the Roberto Clemente Award in 2004, the MLB's humanitarian honor. Martinez is in his third season as the Mariners' hitting coach.
It's the second consecutive season the Mariners organization retired a player's number. Ken Griffey Jr.'s No. 24 was honored last season, and his number also flew on top of the Space Needle.
Martinez stated his favorite part of his time with the Mariners organization is his connection with Seattle and the city's residents. And there's no better way to honor Martinez than placing his number on a flag for all the city to view and admire.
He'll have a better chance to do so when he can finally breathe easy after his descent to ground level.
"I'm looking forward to just look at it when I'm down from here," Martinez said.
Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.