December 11, 2013
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
If you've got some skills in .NET programming and want to work with baseball data, you might be interested in the junior-level job opening at Baseball Info Solutions. Click here to read more about BIS employment opportunities.
Thirty years ago today, the Mariners made one of the best moves in franchise history. On Dec. 19, 1982, a Seattle scout signed a 19-year-old Puerto Rican named Edgar Martinez. Safe to say, the agent earned his keep with this one.
Martinez played 18 years in the big leagues, all as a Mariner. He hit for power, with over 500 doubles and more than 300 homers. He hit for average, with a pair of batting titles and a career .312 mark. He could take a pitch, leading to four straight seasons over 100 walks. Anything you wanted a player to do at the plate, he did at the plate, leading to seven All-Star selections and some support on the current Hall of Fame ballot. He never was much of a fielder, but ended up being arguably the greatest DH in baseball history.
Due to his ability, and the fact that Martinez was a one-franchise player, he retired as (and still is) the all-time Mariners leader in a host of categories, including: games, plate appearances, runs, doubles, RBIs, walks, hit by pitches, sacrifice flies, and GIDP (well, you've got to take the good with the bad). He has the best batting average for anyone to play more than 33 games as a Mariner. Not bad for someone with 2,055 games. If it weren't for Ken Griffey Jr and Ichiro Suzuki, Martinez would be No. 1 in nearly every Mariners category.
That’s especially impressive given the late start Martinez had. He advanced through the minors at a typical enough pace, making it to Triple-A in late 1985. Despite batting .353 in 20 games there, he spent all of 1986 in Double=A. In 1987 he finally returned to Triple-A, and hit .329 with 10 homers.
Nice as that was, Martinez had a problem. He played third base and the Mariners already had a nice young third baseman, Jim Presley. Presley established himself as a big league regular in 1985 at age 23, when he hit 28 homers with a .275 average. The team loved his potential and kept him there, even though he’d fallen off each season since then. All Martinez could get in 1987 was a brief cup of coffee in the majors as a September call-up.
In 1988, the Mariners stayed committed to Presley, even though he hit a meager .230 with just 14 homers. Meanwhile, 25-year-old Martinez hit .363 in 95 games in Triple-A. He was becoming too old to be a prospect, and again got just a brief stint in the majors.
By 1989, the Mariners were finally sick of Presley. He repeated his 1988 performance, and now Martinez got his shot. As it happens, he didn’t do very well. Martinez batted a weak .240 with just a pair of homers in 65 games—but he still outhit Presley’s .236 average and drew nearly as many walks in half as much playing time.
Seattle finally gave Martinez a slot in the starting order for good in 1990, and the 27-year-old responded with the first of 10 .300 seasons. He’d finally arrived—and the process of arriving began 10 years ago today, when the Mariners first signed him.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something happening X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.
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