Cano has since passed Martinez on the all-time MLB list, although Edgar’s 514 doubles remain a Mariners franchise record that’s likely to stand for quite some time. The active player with the most doubles as a Mariner is 44-year-old Ichiro Suzuki with 295. Behind him is Kyle Seager at 214.
Seeing the attention hoisted upon Cano for equaling a mark held by a beloved player like Edgar gave me an idea.
Why not do a side-by-side comparison of Cano and Martinez?
Before going any further, I want to make it clear I won’t be trying to determine the better hitter. That said; contrasting the offensive numbers of Robbie and Edgar could prove enlightening. At the very least, it should be fun.
First, I decided to compare the production of Cano and Martinez though the game they hit double 514. That occurred last Sunday for Robbie, while Edgar hit the last two-bagger of his career on September 5, 2004.
Both players needed approximately the same number of games to reach 514 doubles with Edgar playing just 34 more contests than the Mariners’ second baseman. Something I didn’t realize before starting my research; the pair have approximately the same number of home runs too.
Cano recorded more hits than Seattle’s hitting coach, but look at Edgar’s 65-point edge in OBP. That’s directly attributable to Martinez having over twice the number of walks as Robbie.
Again, this is not about saying which player is better. But consider this; Edgar’s willingness to take free passes affected his hit total. This is one reason some old-guard Hall of Fame voters, who fixate on counting stats, are reluctant to support his election.
Being a selective hitter isn’t the only reason Edgar didn’t reach milestones, such as 400 or 500 home runs or 3,000 hits. He became a full-time player at a later point in his career than most great players.
Lack of minor league production didn’t slow Martinez’s progress to the big leagues; he raked with Class-AAA Calgary for over two seasons. Veteran Jim Presley occupying third base for the Mariners did. Edgar finally became a full-time player in 1989 at 27-years-old.
Edgar’s late start motivated me to look at him and Robby in a different way. Since 2017 was Cano’s age-34 season, I decided to compare the pair’s production from ages 27 to 34. Again, I’m not building a “who is better” argument.
As you can see, Cano played in significantly more games and had more plate appearances. Two factors led to this disparity — health and a player strike that shortened the 1994 and 1995 seasons.
Injuries limited Edgar to 42 games in 1993 and he made a brief trip to the disabled list the following season. Moreover, MLB teams missed approximately 67 games over two seasons due to the work stoppage.
It’s worth noting, over the last 11 full seasons, Cano has averaged 159 games annually. Martinez played in 150-plus contests just four times in 18 years. For me, Robbie’s availability going forward will shape his Hall of Fame narrative once he retires.
If Cano can average 130 games during the last six years of his contract, he has a reasonable chance of recording at least 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. Doing so will lead to a short wait for a Hall of Fame plaque, unlike what Edgar has endured.
When Robbie gets to make that Cooperstown speech, there’s a decent chance former teammates Derek Jeter, Mike Mussina, Randy Johnson, and Mariano Rivera will be sitting behind him along with other prior inductees. Cano will probably thank some of them for teaching him how to be a pro when he was a young player.
Assuming Mariners fans get their wish early next year; Robbie will look behind at his fellow Hall of Famers and see another familiar face smiling back at him — Edgar.
My guess is he’ll be sitting next to Junior.
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