It’s hard to believe that this day is finally here. In less than half an hour, Edgar Martinez will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, a sentence that seemed like an impossibility four or five years ago. Hall-of-Famer Edgar Martinez.
Of course, we all knew he was a Hall of Famer, bronze plaque or not. Those of us who saw him play for years, who knew the consistent force he was in a lineup, who witnessed firsthand his brilliance with the bat; Edgar was always a Hall of Famer to us. If people outside our little fanbase didn’t recognize that, well, that’s something we were used to, as Mariners fans. Being overlooked. Being left out. It seemed like a fait accompli back in 2015 that David Ortiz would be the first DH in Cooperstown, and Edgar would always be talked about by baseball insiders as the one who should have been there first.
Change comes slowly to baseball, but fortunately, change came just quickly enough for Edgar to make it in his final year of eligibility. Younger people who didn’t carry a strong bias against the DH started becoming eligible to vote for the HOF. The cranky dinosaurs of the past who would never vote for a DH fell off the voting rolls, or quit voting altogether. The Mariners organization made a concerted, coordinated, multi-year effort. The fans made noise, on social media, and in sportswriters’ email inboxes. People who had played with Edgar came out in strong support of him. Little by little, everyone laid a hand on the giant stone that guarded the entrance to Cooperstown and rolled it aside to let Edgar pass through as the first Designated Hitter to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Today we will honor Edgar alongside thousands of others in the baseball world. The induction ceremony starts at 10:30 AM on MLBN; you can also watch live on MLB.com. If you’re in attendance at today’s Mariners game, the ceremony will be shown on MarinersVision. We have word that Edgar will likely speak towards the middle or back end of the program. Personally, I hope he goes just before Mariano Rivera, who will fittingly close out the ceremony; Rivera’s famous “he didn’t just have my number, he had my breakfast, lunch, and dinner” quote being one of those hands that rolled aside the stone standing in Edgar’s way. Today marks the culmination of effort from so many people—not least of whom is Edgar himself. Let us all take a moment to celebrate them, and him, our lone Mariner superstar who was a Mariner from start to finish. Edgar por siempre.