The National Baseball Hall of Fame is set to announce its Class of 2019 on Tuesday, Jan. 22. In the days leading up to the announcement, theScore's MLB editors will preview players who look to be a lock to head into Cooperstown.
Player: Edgar Martinez
Team: Seattle Mariners (18 seasons)
Position: Third base, Designated hitter
Current Age: 56
Year on ballot: 10th
Percentage of Vote: 90.9 (Calculated by Ryan Thibodaux)
MLB Seasons: 18
Silver Slugger: 5
AL Batting Champion: 2 (1992, 1995)
AL RBI Leader: 1 (2000)
Martinez is arguably the greatest designated hitter of all time and one of the most feared hitters of his generation.
Among qualified designated hitters, only Frank Thomas, Jim Thome, and Paul Molitor accumulated more WAR than "Gar," according to Fangraphs. The aforementioned trio are all in the Hall of Fame.
"The only guy that I didn’t want to face, when a tough situation comes, was Edgar Martinez," fellow Hall of Fame candidate Mariano Rivera said in 2013. "It didn’t matter how I threw the ball. I couldn’t get him out. Oh my God, he had more than my number. He had my breakfast, lunch, and dinner."
Although Martinez didn't offer much defense during the last decade of his career due to injuries, "Papi" was consistently valuable at the plate.
Martinez's 147 wRC+ ranks 33rd all time, ahead of Thome, Albert Pujols, and Willie Stargell, while his .418 on-base percentage ranks 21st ahead of Mike Trout and Stan Musial.
The two-time batting champ retired following the 2004 season with a .312 cumulative batting average, and he only finished one season in which he played more than 65 games with an OPS below .830 - his last full campaign in the bigs - during an 18-year career spent entirely with the Mariners.
While all were notable, the two most memorable of Martinez's highlights came one game apart during the 1995 postseason.
In Game 4 of the American League Division Series, with the Mariners down two games to one against the New York Yankees, he showcased his Hall of Fame-worthy bat.
In five trips to the plate, Martinez drove in seven of the Mariners' 11 runs, including a game-winning grand slam to tie the series.
Martinez would outdo himself one night later in front of an electric crowd at the Kingdome in Seattle.
With his team down 5-4 in extra innings, he hit a series-clinching, two-run double to score Ken Griffey Jr. and send the Mariners to their first-ever ALCS.
"The Double" is widely regarded as the great moment in Mariners history and helped cement Martinez as one of the franchise's all-time legends.