The Seattle Mariners had never made the playoffs before Edgar Martinez, and they haven’t made them since.
He was the cleanup hitter on a team that featured the potent bats of Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Jay Buhner.
He put that team on his back more than once, creating many of the greatest moments in franchise history.
Here’s a look at some of the most memorable moments of his 18-year Major League career:
Turning Three, June 1, 1991 at Arlington Stadium
Martinez would be defined by his bat, but on a warm night in Texas his glove helped propel the Mariners to a win over the rival Rangers on the road.
With Randy Johnson on the mound for Seattle, Texas had runners at first and second with one out.
Brian Downing laced a hard ground ball down the third base line. Martinez snagged it, stepped on the bag and riffled to Harold Reynolds at second, who turned and fired the ball to Pete O’Brien to complete the triple play.
Johnson needed the help, too. He gave up three runs and walked eight batters in just four innings of work.
Martinez was 3-for-6 at the plate with a double and two runs scored and the Mariners won a slugfest, 12-8.
All Star Swing, July 8, 1997 at Jacobs Field
In the heart of the offensive explosion in Major League Baseball, Martinez’s second-inning solo shot off Greg Maddux was the only run in this midsummer classic until the seventh inning.
Martinez also hit a single in his second at-bat but was caught stealing by Javy Lopez.
The National League tied the game in the seventh, but a two-out, two run, homer by Sandy Alomar Jr. in the bottom of the inning put the AL ahead for good.
Back-to-Back (the first time), Oct. 3, 2000 at Comiskey Park II
The Mariners and Martinez were in the playoffs for the third time.
The previous trip wasn’t as magical as the 1995 run to the ALCS. In 1997, the Mariners lost in four games to Baltimore in the ALDS and were done.
This time they started the division series in Chicago and the game went to extra innings, tied at 4-4. Mike Cameron led off the top of the 10th with a single. Alex Rodriguez flied out.
Up stepped Martinez. After Keith Foulke started him off with two balls, Cameron stole second and Edgar watched a strike. On the next pitch, he unloaded for a 2-run homer to break the game open.
First baseman John Olerud took Foulke’s next pitch deep as well and the Mariners held on for a 7-4 win that set the tone for a sweep.
In the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, Martinez and Olerud went back-to-back again in Game 5, helping to stave off elimination in a 6-2 win at Safeco Field.
Unfortunately, they were eliminated in New York two days later in a 9-7 loss.
Grand Salami Time, Oct. 7, 1995 at Kingdome
The first time the Mariners faced the Yankees in the playoffs it ended quite differently.
New York won both games at Yankee Stadium before the two traveled to the Kingdome for the final three.
The Mariners claimed Game 3, but fell behind quickly 5-0 in Game 4.
In the bottom of the third, Martinez crushed a 3-run homer to get Seattle on the board.
Later, he came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth with the game tied at 6-6 and the bases loaded.
Facing John Wetland, Martinez grooved a 2-2 fastball to dead-center field, over the wall to clear the bases.
The Mariners would add another run and the Yankees would rally for two more before the game was finished, but Seattle held on for an 11-8 win to set up a winner-take-all matchup the next day.
The Double, Oct. 8, 1995 at Kingdome
No play has been remembered more in Mariners lore.
Another clutch hit against the Yankees. This one ending the series and pushing the Mariners to the American League Championship for the first time in franchise history.
Griffey hit a two-run bomb in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at 4-4.
That’s where things stayed until Johnson gave up a run in relief in the top of the 11th.
Joey Cora led off the bottom half of the inning with a drag-bunt single. Griffey followed with a groundball single up the middle.
Martinez came to the plate with runners at the corners. He took the first pitch for a strike, then lined the next one down the left field line.
Cora scored easily from third. Griffey, sprinting nonstop from first, slid into the plate just before the throw.
Mariners 6, Yankees 5.