Martinez: ‘Hard to explain’ HOF journey

Sports

Edgar Martinez first signed to play professional baseball for $4,000 in 1982.

It took him five years to even reach the Major Leagues, and by 2019, he wound up in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

“It is incredible,” Martinez said.  “It’s hard to explain.  “It’s just an amazing feeling.”

Martinez was in the 10th and final year on the ballot after falling 20 votes short in 2018.

“I was ready in case it didn’t happen,” he said.  “I had it in my mind that either way it was going to be ok.”

Martinez’s case was complicated by the fact he spent the majority of his career as a designated hitter.

“It was an argument whether (being a DH) was worthy of becoming a Hall of Famer,” he said.  “Slowly, that was changing with more releivers getting into the Hall of Fame and more writers looking at other statistics.”

As it turned out, Martinez didn’t have to worry.  This past January, he was named on 85.4 percent of ballots, exceeding the 75 percent required for induction.  He’ll join Mariano Rivera in the Hall, who he hit an astounding .578 against (11-for-19) during his career.

“(I have) no idea how,” he said.  “Mariano believed in his pitch.  We all knew he would throw the cutter.”

Martinez has never forgotten one critical at-bat in the 2001 ALCS against the Yankees when he failed to come through in a big spot against Rivera.

“I had the chance to produce for the team and he got me out,” Martinez said.  “I would trade all of those hits prior just for that at-bat.”

The Mariners would go on to lose that series in five games.  It would prove to be Martinez’s final postseason apperance.

He and the rest of the Class of 2019 will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 21.

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