If ever there was someone to bend the rule for, it was Edgar Martinez.
Seattle Mariners club policy has long been to only retire the numbers of Hall of Famers - unless the player was a career Mariner who came close to induction. Martinez, arguably the greatest designated hitter in baseball history, fits that criteria, having yet to be elected to Cooperstown in eight turns on the ballot. On Saturday night, it was finally time for Martinez to have his moment, as the Mariners retired his No. 11 at Safeco Field.
Following a moving ceremony that saw him feted by a long list of former teammates and Mariners legends, Martinez's three children unveiled his retired number on the left-field facade, where it now sits forever alongside his longtime teammate Ken Griffey Jr.'s No. 24, and Jackie Robinson's No. 42, on the left-field facade.
Martinez, who's now the Mariners' hitting coach, spent his entire 18-year career with the team, winning two batting titles and five Silver Sluggers, and twice hitting over 50 doubles. MLB's Designated Hitter of the Year award was renamed in his honor following his retirement.
In the 11th inning of Game 5 of the 1995 ALDS against the Yankees, he authored the most important hit in Mariners history, known simply as "The Double." It sent the Mariners to their first-ever American League Championship Series. The hit has been credited by many, including his former manager, Lou Piniella, as the reason the Mariners are still in Seattle today.