Mariners Hot Stove Show: Edgar Martinez, Ken Griffey Jr and more talk No. 11’s big day
A Hall of Fame player deserves a Hall of Fame Hot Stove Show, and producer Gary Hill Jr. delivered.
If you missed the two hours of Edgar Martinez talk Tuesday night on 710 ESPN Seattle – two hours that included interviews with two Hall of Famers, two of the men that Edgar called mentors in his career and the writer who perhaps did the most to advance Edgar’s Hall of Fame candidacy – never fear, because we have a podcast.
At the top of the show, the man of the hour joined Rick Rizzs, Gary Hill and myself on the phone from New York. Edgar admitted that after 10 years of waiting for his day to come, it still hasn’t quite hit him that he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July (listen to Edgar’s interview here).
“It means so much,” he said. “I haven’t been able to think about it yet but I am sure when I get the time to relax and allow my mind to go there it will be more clear in my mind what everything really means. But I know I have been thinking of this for a while. It’s the highest honor as a player. When you get to the moment where you are elected to be in the Hall of Fame, to be with the greatest players this game has seen? It’s an old game, 100-plus years, I never thought I would be here in this position. It’s just amazing.”
Edgar talked about his day leading up to receiving the call from the Hall and relayed a funny story about a moment of uncertainty when the phone rang at the appointed time but no one was on the other end.
As for his on-field work, Edgar gave insight into how he became the hitter he was, a period of time when he doubted himself and how and when he settled on the approach that landed him in Cooperstown.
Up next was Lee Elia, who served as Mariners bench coach then hitting coach from 1993 to 1997. Elia reminisced with former Mariners catcher Dan Wilson about the work that Edgar put in and the impact he had on those around him, coaches included.
The man who talked Edgar into accepting a contract and leaving Puerto Rico, his cousin and former big leaguer Carmelo Martinez, closed out the first hour of the show. He also talked about the work Edgar put in, work that included taking swings at rocks and raindrops while a child in Puerto Rico.
Kicking off the second hour was the only person to be go into the Hall of Fame in a Mariners cap before Edgar, his former teammate Ken Griffey Jr., who was clearly thrilled to see Edgar finally get his moment (listen to Junior’s interview here).
“I think I was more excited for him because of last year’s total,” Griffey said. “For me he’s the best right-handed hitter that I played for and against. It was gratifying and fun. Today it was like going back in the Hall of Fame because now I have someone I can share this with because he is a teammate of mine.”
Griffey gave his memories of “The Double” and some of the motivation that got him around the bases any time Edgar put bat on ball.
“For me to be able to score for Edgar was like me hitting that ball down the left field line,” he said. “That’s what we were about. We weren’t the most talented team but the word team was most important and we talked about it every day.”
Griffey shared a number of Edgar stories before ending his interview by saying that he looked forward to giving him a hug and a welcome to baseball’s most exclusive fraternity.
“Now I have someone to share things with who is in the same uniform,” he said. “Now I have somebody who can sit next to me.”
Also in the second hour, Jay Jaffe of Fangraphs, perhaps the biggest proponent of Edgar’s Hall of Fame candidacy over the years, jumped on to talk about No. 11’s accomplishments as a player.
The final two segments of the show included clips on facing Edgar from Hall of Fame pitchers Dennis Eckersley and Jack Morris, former Mariners and Angles great Mark Langston, former A’s pitcher Mark Mulder and former Yankees manager Buck Showalter, plus a terrific highlight montage featuring several of Edgar’s finest moments on the field, many called by the great Dave Neihaus.
A fitting end to a memorable day.