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Souza pulls for boyhood idol Edgar to join HOF

Rays outfielder grew up cheering for hometown Mariners
MLB.com @basebollie

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder and Everett, Wash., native Steven Souza Jr. is a longtime Mariners fan who grew up watching one of the great hitters in Seattle's history, Edgar Martinez.

With the Hall of Fame induction announcement set to take place today at 6 p.m. ET, Souza joined Harold Reynolds and Matt Vasgersian on MLB Network this morning to campaign for Martinez to be enshrined among baseball's legends in 2018.

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder and Everett, Wash., native Steven Souza Jr. is a longtime Mariners fan who grew up watching one of the great hitters in Seattle's history, Edgar Martinez.

With the Hall of Fame induction announcement set to take place today at 6 p.m. ET, Souza joined Harold Reynolds and Matt Vasgersian on MLB Network this morning to campaign for Martinez to be enshrined among baseball's legends in 2018.

Complete Hall of Fame coverage

"He, at his time was transcendent, at the DH," Souza said of Martinez. "There weren't many DHs that were established, and he basically paved the way for guys like Nelson Cruz and Edwin Encarnacion to come in and basically play that position day in and day out."

Souza noted that Martinez, who is currently above the 75 percent voting threshold needed to be inducted according to Ryan Thibodaux's Hall of Fame ballot tracker, might not get the same attention as other candidates because of the late start to his career. Martinez was a rookie at age 24 and didn't play a full season until age 27.

Video: Rays outfielder Souza Jr. recalls baseball growing up

"Over the 17-year -- really 14-year -- span that he played his numbers were just gaudy," Souza said.

On Tuesday, after seeing Rays beat reporter Mark Topkin's released ballot that did not include Martinez, Souza jokingly stated on Twitter he would not accept interview requests from the Tampa Bay Times scribe until Martinez was voted into the Hall.

"You are hereby on probation from interviews until my childhood hero, Edgar Martinez is rightfully voted in to the Hall Of Fame," Souza tweeted. "This may seem unprofessional and unfair, but I say to you 'My oh My.' Yours Truly, Longtime Mariner Fan."

Souza told Reynolds, a former Mariner himself, he imitated Martinez's swing growing up.

Souza really wants to see his idol Edgar in HOF

"I got Edgar batting gloves, and from that moment I tried to hit like him," Souza said. "I would watch his video, I would study him, the way his hands moved, the way his bat was relaxed and just whipped. Everything I could to look like Edgar because I figured if I could look like him, I could hit like him."

The 28-year-old is back home and will be watching this evening, hopeful his childhood icon gets the nod.

"I was thinking of throwing a giant party at Safeco Field if anybody wanted to come, but they wouldn't let me in," Souza joked.

Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @basebollie.

Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, Steven Souza Jr.