The next year Edgar won the PCL batting championship (.363) and got another September call-up. In 1989, he actually made the team out of spring training but was still seen as a backup to Jim Presley, who hit 28 home runs in 1985, and was seen as the third baseman of the future. But ’85 was Presley’s high-water mark and the M’s finally traded him in January 1990. But even then, the club didn’t know what it had with Edgar.
“I think Darnell Coles is going to surprise a lot of people,” manager Jim Lefebvre told The Seattle Times in February 1990 about his new starting third baseman. “He knows there is no one in the wings, just Edgar Martinez to back him up. I think it is time for him to realize that he belongs at third, because to play that position you have to be an athlete. And Darnell Coles is an athlete.”
Edgar? Not an athlete. He’s just a backup. He’s no one in the wings.
Other people knew. That same spring, stats guru Bill James wrote the following about Edgar: “What a sad story this one is. This guy is a good hitter, quite capable of hitting .300 in a park like Seattle, with more walks than strikeouts. Martinez has wasted about three years when he could have been helping the team.”
Those were three years when he could have been adding to his counting numbers, too. Instead, he didn’t play regularly until May of that year. He was 27. He hit .302 with an OBP of .397. Two years later he won the batting title. Three years later he won it again. Never has an organization’s persistent obtuseness been so unjustly rewarded.
But Edgar’s chances for the Hall were probably gone for good. Because the M’s didn’t bring him up soon enough.
Posted: March 29, 2013 at 06:30 PM | 108 comment(s)
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