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Tuesday, October 26, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Mariners
Edgar Martinez earns Clemente Award

By Bob Finnigan
Seattle Times staff reporter

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In his first month of retirement, Edgar Martinez today will be where he was unable to go in 17 years as a player — the World Series.

In a ceremony on the field tonight at Busch Stadium before Game 3, baseball commissioner Bud Selig will present the former Mariners star with the Roberto Clemente Award.

The annual award, baseball's highest honor for community service, undoubtedly will have great meaning to Martinez.

It was watching the 1971 World Series, with Puerto Rican hero Clemente playing a starring role for Pittsburgh, that inspired Martinez to become a major-league player and made Clemente his role model.

Baseball has given the award since 1972, and renamed it for Clemente in 1973 after he died in a 1972 New Year's Eve plane crash while delivering relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua.

With Martinez being honored, Seattle has a two-year winning streak for the Clemente Award, which last year went to Jamie Moyer and his wife, Karen. In 1991, Mariners second baseman Harold Reynolds was the winner.

Each of the 30 major-league teams nominates a player each year. In their presentation on behalf of Martinez, the Mariners said, "Edgar and his wife, Holli, have given back to the Seattle community in numerous ways over the years. Through countless hours, funds, resources and contributions, they will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of children and families in the Pacific Northwest for years to come."

Among the charities and nonprofits Edgar and Holli Martinez have supported: Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, Children's Hospital, Overlake Hospital, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Wishing Star Foundation, United Way, Esperanza, Page Ahead Children's Literacy Program, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs and Mariners Care.

In March of 2003, they supported Overlake Hospital Medical Center as honorary co-chairs of the hospital's $2.5 million community phase of the Auxiliaries & Foundation $28 million Capital Campaign.

Martinez also is a longtime supporter of Children's Hospital. In 2002, he served as the honorary chair of Children's Hospital Wishing Well Night at Safeco Field, which raised more than $120,000.
 
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In 2003, he was named the United Way of King County Community All-Star Award winner for his contributions.

Esperanza is a nonprofit organization that provides health care and educational opportunities along with family-assistance and economic-development programs for poor families in Latin America. Esperanza awarded Martinez with its inaugural International Award of Hope for his contributions.

Bob Finnigan: 206-464-8276 or bfinnigan@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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