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Q&A with Edgar Martinez

Former Seattle Mariners Professional Baseball Player and Coach

By Marguerite Cleveland

Edgar Martinez is a beloved Seattle Mariners player best known for “The Double” as Mariners fans dubbed his two-run double in Game 5 of the 1995 American League Division Series, which led to an 11th-inning win. For the first time in franchise history, it sent the Mariners to the American League Championship Series. Former Mariners’ Manager Lou Piniella called it, “the hit, the run, the game, the series and the season that saved baseball in Seattle.”[1]

Martinez was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019. Prior to that, in June 2007, he was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame for his charitable works. He and his wife Holli are active in the local community and have supported Seattle Children’s Hospital, Overlake Hospital, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and many more with both their time and money.

Q. What was the impact on your family in Puerto Rico when you became a Major League Baseball player? A. I grew up in Puerto Rico and was raised by my grandparents. My grandfather was a blue-collar worker, and we lived paycheck to paycheck. When I signed to the minor leagues the money was not good, but when I moved to the major league the timing was perfect. My grandfather was sick and no longer able to work. I was able to help take care of him due to my increase in income with a Major League Baseball contract.

Q. You grew up in Puerto Rico, which is known for sunny skies and friendly people. What was it like making Seattle your home? Did you ever experience the “Seattle Freeze”? A. Seattle is such a beautiful city, especially in the summer when there is so much green, the skies are blue, mountain views, and the lake is gorgeous. I never experienced the “Seattle Freeze.” Seattle has good people who have always been friendly and welcoming to me.

Q. Rumor has it you met your wife Holli on a blind date. A. The girlfriend of one of the sport’s writers asked me why she always saw me alone. She told me, “I have someone you should meet.” I was open to it and asked for her friend’s phone number. She wouldn’t give it to me until she spoke to Holli. I finally got Holli’s number and asked her out. She turned me down, twice! Finally, she agreed to go to dinner with me. It went well and we continued to date until we got married.

Q. Please tell our readers about your involvement in supporting the local community and nonprofits. A. The Seattle Mariners encouraged players get involved in the local community, and my wife Holli was very active volunteering and encouraged me as well. We are most proud for establishing the Martinez Foundation.

We saw a need for teachers of color in Washington state. I went back to school after baseball and found how I could identify more with a teacher who shared a minority background. Over the years, Holli and I helped over 100 teachers with scholarships and Martinez Fellowships. They taught in schools with the most needs for diversity. The foundation also helped mentor them with early career coaching, and we offered professional development seminars and training.

*At the time, the Martinez Foundation was the only organization in the country with a mission to improve teacher diversity. As it grew bigger, the Martinizes trusted the Technology Access Foundation to continue their mission by providing Martinez Fellowships for teachers of color.

Q. You and your three business partners have the U.S. distribution rights to El Zacatecano Mezcal, which is a smokey tequila. Why did you choose to promote this brand? A. Before committing to the project, I visited the small town of Huitzila in Mexico and met with the family that grows and harvests blue agave and distills it to make “Zac” mezcal. The town is very small, and the distillery is the main employment in the village. I was impressed with the quality of the product. Our goal was to increase the distribution of the product, which would in turn help the town with increased production, which would create more jobs.

[1] In "Out of Left Field," a book by Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Art Thiel

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