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Just like career, Martinez prepares for Cooperstown moment

Wed Jul 17 2:25am ET
By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer

In this April 5, 2004, file photo, Seattle Mariners designated hitter Edgar Martinez, right, chats with trainer Rick Griffin during practice in Seattle. 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 the 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. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)


In this April 4, 2001, file photo, Seattle Mariners' Edgar Martinez drops his bat as he heads toward first on his sixth-inning, two-run double against the Oakland Athletics in Seattle. Martinez will go into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, the first player to spend his entire career with the Mariners--18 seasons in all--and find his way into Cooperstown. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)


In this April 1, 2002, file photo, Seattle Mariners' Edgar Martinez tips his cap to the crowd as he is introduced for the baseball team's season opener against the Chicago White Sox in Seattle. Martinez hit a 2-run single in the eighth. The White Sox won 6-5. 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. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)


In this Sept. 10, 2017, file photo, Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais, left, and hitting coach Edgar Martinez stand at the rail of the dugout during the team's baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Seattle. Servais had never crossed paths with Martinez until being hired as Seattles manager in 2016. Martinez was the hitting coach under the previous regime and remained on staff. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)


In this Oct. 2, 2004, file photo, Seattle Mariners' Edgar Martinez is greeted by fans as he jogs a lap around the stadium in Seattle after the team's 10-4 loss to the Texas Rangers in a baseball game on the eve of his final game before retirement. Martinez will go into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, the first player to spend his entire career with the Mariners--18 seasons in all--and find his way into Cooperstown. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)


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 the 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?

''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 as most of his career was spent tucked away in the Pacific Northwest on a team that until the magical 1995 season 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.

''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.

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