[NFBWATlk] Ed--Gar!!!

Lauren Merryfield lauren at catlines.com
Fri Aug 9 08:34:05 UTC 2019


Mariners legend Edgar Martinez inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame


Posted 12:23 PM, July 21, 2019, by Associated Press, Updated at 04:09PM,
July 21, 2019


SEATTLE (AP) - Edgar Martinez trained for every aspect of his career.


As a player, he spent nearly two decades doing daily eye exercises to
overcome strabismus, a condition that prevented his eyes from seeing in
tandem. Rather than letting that become an excuse that kept him out of
baseball, Martinez became arguably the best right-handed hitter of his
generation and the prototype for what a designated hitter can be.


As a coach, he was a meticulous planner, often one of the first in the
clubhouse daily. Before taking swings during batting practice - more than a
decade after his last game - Martinez spent a week taking BP. He wasn't
about to be unprepared before putting on a show players and fellow coaches
wouldn't forget.


Why should his training and preparation be any different for his first
speech as a Hall of Famer?


Related Story

Larry Stone, co-author of new Edgar Martinez autobiography, in-studio on 'Q
It Up Sports'




"I think it's like anything if you want to do it right and do well you have
to practice," Martinez said. "In a way it's true, it's like that. You're
preparing for some performance, whether it's hitting in a game or a speech."


Martinez will go into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, the first player
to spend his entire career with the Seattle Mariners - 18 seasons in all -
and find his way into Cooperstown.





His numbers are staggering yet often overlooked. Most of his career was
spent tucked away in the Pacific Northwest on a team that until the magical
1995 season, when the franchise made its first playoff appearance in
dramatic fashion, got little notice on the national stage.


Martinez hit .312 with 309 home runs in 2,055 career games with the
Mariners. His numbers would be even more impressive if he had broken into
the majors earlier. Martinez never played more than 100 games in the majors
until he was 27.




Related Story

Washington Senate honors former Mariner Edgar Martinez




"Day in and day out, he was prepared," teammate Ken Griffey Jr. said.
"Thirty, 40 years ago a DH was an older guy who was on his way out, but a
fan favorite, they wanted to keep him around. Now, it's guys who can flat
hit and get a chance to go out and play every day.


"And he made that all possible."


Whether it's the pride of joining the fraternity of Puerto Rican players or
his affection for the only franchise he's ever been associated with,
Martinez is grateful to those who helped along the way.


"A lot of people play a role in my success and just keep it condensed and
within 12 minutes. I'm close to having it just right," Martinez said of his
induction speech.




Related Story

Commentary: It's more of a "Year of Nostalgia" for the M's, rather than a
rebuilding year




Tom Davidson was one of those who helped.


"We told him, 'Give us 10 days and let's see what you think of it,'"
Davidson recalled.


Nicknamed the "eye guy" by teammates, Martinez started working with Davidson
in the late 1990s. For nearly a decade, Martinez had been doing eye
exercises after Dr. Douglas Nikaita diagnosed his eye condition.


Davidson's technique became another step in the eye training. He developed a
system using tennis balls traveling at high rates of speed to help
strengthen and train the eye for recognizing pitches.


The training involved watching the tennis balls, which had small numbers
written on them, and trying to focus the eyes to read and recognize the
numbers as they buzzed by, sometimes as fast as 150 mph.


As Martinez put it, a pitch at 95 mph doesn't look so fast after seeing
tennis balls go flying by at 130 mph or more.


"The eyes set the body up to be successful," Davidson said. "That's what
Edgar always told me. And the longer you see the ball out of the hand and
closest to the bat that you can, gives you all that time to adjust to the
ball. That's what this training was all about."


Martinez hit .305 over his final seven seasons after first working with
Davidson. He twice led the league in on-base percentage during that span and
had a career-high 145 RBIs in 2000 at age 37.


Those swings during the back half of his career may not have been as
impressive as what he did one day in Texas just a couple of years ago.


Scott Servais had never crossed paths with Martinez until being hired as
Seattle's manager in 2016. Martinez was the hitting coach under the previous
regime and remained on staff. Other than knowing Martinez's reputation as a
hitter during the era both played, Servais rarely saw it in action.


Until one day in Houston during a session of early batting practice.


"We had another 20 minutes or whatever and I said, 'Edgar you want some?'"
Servais recalled.


What happened when the man in his mid-50s stepped in?


"He threw somebody's sweaty batting gloves on and grabbed their bat and got
in there, and about the third or fourth swing he's peppering them off the
wall out there and up on the train tracks," Servais said. "You never forget
those types of things."


What Servais may not have known was that Martinez had spent time in the
batting cage for about a week, watching pitches and taking a few swings. He
wasn't about to be unprepared.


"I did have some practice," he said. "It's excitement about it. In a way, a
little bit of adrenaline, too. It was fun. It was fun to do it. I'm not
ready to do it again."



Co-author of new Edgar Martinez autobiography in-studio on Q It Up Sports




Griffey is the face of Seattle's baseball history, but it's Martinez who is
most adored. Spending his entire career with one team, combined with his
affable personality, made Martinez a revered figure in the Pacific


Griffey will forever be the first player to wear a Mariners hat into the
Hall of Fame and has a statue in front of T-Mobile Park.


But it stands looking toward the intersection of Edgar Martinez Drive and
Dave Niehaus Way.


"Edgar is Edgar. He doesn't ask for a lot. He takes pride in everything that
he does," Griffey said. "When you ask him to do something, he wants to be
the very best he can be."






  Consider the flowers of a garden:  though differing in kind, color, form
and shape, yet, inasmuch as they are refreshed by the waters of one spring,
revived by the breath of one wind, invigorated by the rays of one sun, this
diversity increaseth their charm, and addeth unto their beauty.  ....

Advice from my cats:meow when you feel like it. My audiobook is available on


More information about the NFBWATlk mailing list