Mariners News: Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez up for the HOF


A pair of Seattle Mariners’ legends are officially eligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez are on the 2016 ballot. This is Griffey’s first year of eligibility, and Martinez’s seventh appearance on the ballot.

Junior is a virtual lock to be a first ballot Hall-of-Famer, and Mariners’ fans have known this since the mid-90’s. Selected first overall by the M’s in the 1987 draft, “The Kid” arrived in the Emerald City as a 19-year-old. Griffey spent the first 11 seasons of his illustrious career in Seattle, and returned home for the final year and a half before hanging up his cleats in 2010.

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It did not take long for the youngster to make an impact, as he posted a .264 batting average with 16 home runs and 61 RBI across 127 games as a rookie. Griffey made his first All-Star appearance in 1990, just his second season in the big leagues. He proceeded to represent the Mariners at the following 9 mid-summer classics.

The Cincinnati, OH product’s best season as a pro came in 1997. The Mariners made the postseason that year, and Griffey is the big reason why. The Kid hit .304 with 56 home runs, 147 RBI and 15 stolen bases. He was voted the American League Most Valuable Player, and he cemented himself as the best player in the sport.

Through 13 seasons in the Northwest, Griffey posted a .292 batting average with 417 home runs, 1,216 RBI and 167 stolen bases. He is the Mariners all time leader in home runs and wins above replacement (70). Junior helped lead the M’s to the playoffs in 1995 and 1997.

Griffey was a true five-tool outfielder. He could hit for power and average, run like a gazelle, make highlight reel grabs and gun down baserunners with ease. Junior won 10 consecutive Gold Glove Awards with the Mariners, and robbed numerous home runs.

Put simply, there was no one better than Ken Griffey Jr. Junior was the greatest player to ever put on an M’s uniform, and he put Mariners’ baseball on the map. I was lucky enough to see him in the Seattle clubhouse this summer, and everyone wanted to be around him. Many childhood idols fall short in real life, but Griffey is the exception.

Griffey’s enthusiasm changed the game. Whether it be the grin tattooed on his face or wearing his hat backwards in the home run derby, Junior always had fun. When people think back on Griffey’s career 50 years from now, many will remember his smooth swing. I will picture him smiling.

Griffey spent 22 seasons in the Major Leagues. He hit .284 with 630 home runs and 1,836 RBI. Junior’s 630 home runs rank sixth all time. In an era ruled by PED users, Griffey proved you could still be a star without steroids. No player has ever received 100% of the BBWAA vote, but Griffey should get north of 99%.

Edgar Martinez may not have had the same flare as Griffey, but he was the glue that held the club together. ‘Gar signed as an amateur free agent with the Mariners in 1982, and has called Seattle home ever since.

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No player in history played more games in a Mariners’ uniform than Edgar. His 512 doubles, 1,261 RBI, 1,283 walks and .418 on base percentage are all tops in M’s history. Martinez ranks second with 2,247 career hits, 309 home runs and a .312 batting average. He represented the Mariners at 7 All-Star Games and won 5 Silver Sluggers.

The magical 1995 season stands out as Gar’s best. He won the batting title after hitting .356 with 52 doubles, 29 home runs and 113 RBI. Martinez finished third in MVP voting, but his performance in the postseason is what we all remember. He accounted for 7 runs to keep Seattle alive and force a game 5 in the ALDS against the New York Yankees. Martinez came through with the biggest moment in franchise history in game 5, ripping a 2-run double down the left field line in extra innings to send the Mariners to the American League Championship series.

2000 was another remarkable year for Edgar. At 37 years of age, Papi hit a career high 37 home runs and drove in a league best 145 runs. He posted a .324 batting average, and placed sixth in MVP voting.

Edgar is one of the most beloved figures in Mariners’ history, and rightfully so. He currently serves as the M’s hitting coach. The street outside Safeco Field is named in his honor, as is the cantina down the left field line.

It is disgraceful that Edgar Martinez is not already enshrined in Cooperstown. The greatest designated hitter in baseball history received just 27% of the vote in 2015. The BBWAA needs to rectify this, and there is no time like the present.

Next: Introducing C.J. Riefenhauser

Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez combined to save baseball in the Northwest, and it only seems fitting that they enter the Hall together.