Edgar does not love the spotlight; this much we know. But his status as the longest-tenured Mariner ever (his 2,055 games are well ahead of the next person on the list, Ichiro at 1844) means that over his career he was forced into situations where he had to act as the face of the team. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his history of Mariners commercials, and this is to our benefit.
1996: Edgar at batting practice:
Easily one of my favorites. Edgar is looking for some hitting coaching, but he clearly doesn’t need it. This one is especially funny in the light of the fact that it’s now Edgar on the other side of the cage:
1998: Edgar and the Rookies:
Another commercial that prefigures Edgar’s role as an instructor. Also a throwback to a time where no one outside of Seattle knew what a latte was, apparently.
1999: Edgar Opens the Roof:
Edgar has exactly one line in this, and it is perfect. Every element of this commercial, in fact, is perfect, from the super-blue Seattle summer sky to the “I club NY” bumper sticker to the old-school label-maker labels on the remotes. I humbly submit this is not just one of Edgar’s greatest commercials, but an all-time Mariners commercial. I want to live inside it.
2001: Scary Stories
Another one where Edgar has all of two lines, and delivers them perfectly. The acting load is shouldered by Edgar’s teammates here, but this is an all-time Edgar commercial nonetheless.
2002: Edgar’s Bat
Not the best Edgar commercial by a long shot, but gets points for gently poking fun at how obsessively Edgar would weigh each of his bats.
2004: The Clapper
This is not my favorite Edgar commercial, but worth it for the very last line.
The Mariners commercials are always enjoyable: off-beat, funny and charming. But the Edgar commercials rank among the best. Bob Sherwin of the Times examined this phenomenon in 2001, in an article about ad exec Jim Copacino’s campaigns for the team:
But no one has been more charming than Edgar Martínez, whose warm and genuine personality has been captured by Copacino to the point that he's a commercial cult hero. Martínez has been shown ordering pizzas, washing his clothes, or opening the Safeco Field roof from a control in his car.
"I think for a while he worried people enjoyed him because they might be laughing at him, but I think it is a genuine respect for him as a craftsman," Copacino said. "He's such a nice man, such an essentially decent guy that I think the camera finds that. It comes through. Plus, he has that wonderful musical Spanish accent."
Of course, probably the most enduring Edgar commercial wasn’t a team-produced one at all.
Love you forever, Gar.