EDGAR MARTINEZ – Baseball
Considered by many to be the greatest designated hitter in history, Edgar Martinez played 18 seasons for the Seattle Mariners and finished his career with a lifetime batting average of .312. A three-time All-Star and a two-time Mariners MVP, Edgar is Seattle’s all-time leader in doubles and won two American League batting titles — 1992 with a .343 average and 1995 with a .356 average.
Martinez won five Silver Slugger Awards in his career as well as the Roberto Clemente Award in 2004. Upon Edgar’s retirement in 2004, the Outstanding Designated Hitter Award was renamed the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award, an award he won five times.
Edgar, Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Stan Musial, Rogers Hornsby, and Lou Gehrig are the only players in history with 300 home runs, 500 doubles, a career batting average higher than .300, a career on-base percentage higher than .400 and a career slugging percentage higher than .500. He was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 2019. His double to drive in Ken Griffey Jr. with the winning run in Game 5 of the 1995 American League Division Series is the most popular single play in Mariners history.
DEAN NICHOLSON – Coach (Basketball)
Dean Nicholson enjoyed a stellar high school and college basketball coaching career and combined with his father, Leo, to win 1,114 games at Central Washington University — the most ever by a father-son combo in college basketball history. On April 11, 1987, a state of Washington Senate resolution was passed declaring the day as “Coach Nicholson Day,” recognizing their accomplishments.
After 14 years at Puyallup High, where he won five Puget Sound League championships, Nicholson guided the Wildcats of Central Washington to a 609-202 record in his 26 years which included 22 NAIA District 1 titles, six NAIA Final Four appearances and a runner-up finish in the 1970 national championships to Kentucky State.
Dean then spent one season with the Yakima Sun Kings of the CBA before concluding his career with three years at the helm of the Yakima Valley College basketball team where they won two NWAACC Region 2 titles.
In 1972-73, Dean was the NAIA representative to the U.S. Olympic Basketball Committee and coached at the Olympic camp and trials. He was elected to the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1986.
EMMETT WATSON – Media
Emmett Watson was Seattle’s preeminent newspaper columnist for more than 50 years, covering sports for both the Seattle Times and P-I. Baseball was his particular passion. He was Fred Hutchinson’s catcher at Franklin High School before Hutchinson went on to a storied career as a Major League pitcher and manager.
Watson also played for the University of Washington and later had a cup of coffee with the Seattle Rainiers. The curve ball, he said, ended his career, despite his manager’s opinion that behind the plate Watson “had a good squat.”
He was more skilled behind the typewriter. Through his influential column, Watson campaigned for Major League Baseball in Seattle. When it arrived, it stayed for a single season, 1969, and the Seattle Pilots then absconded to Milwaukee. Subsequently, Watson provided stalwart support to his friend, U.S. District Judge Bill Dwyer, who sued the American League on behalf of city, county, and state citizens for taking their team away. As a result of that landmark suit, Seattle was awarded the franchise that became the Seattle Mariners in 1977.
JIM WHITTAKER – Mountaineering
Jim Whittaker is best known as the first American to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest point on earth, a feat accomplished on May 1, 1963. Jim also led Senator Robert Kennedy on the first ascent of Mt. Kennedy in 1965, a peak in the Canadian Yukon named for his slain brother. In 1978 Whittaker organized and led the first American ascent of K2, the world’s second highest mountain, succeeding after five American failures spanning 40 years. Against formidable political and logistical odds, Jim organized and led the spectacularly successful 1990 Mt. Everest peach climb which put 20 men and women from three superpowers — the U.S., China and the Soviet Union — on the summit of Everest. As a former guide and climbing instructor on Mt. Rainier and a member of the National Ski Patrol, Mountain Rescue, and the Mountaineers, Whittaker has led life-saving rescues of skiers, climbers and aircraft. Jim was also the first full-time employee of Recreational Equipment Inc. and was the company’s CEO in the 1960s.
LOU WHITTAKER – Mountaineering
Lou Whittaker began climbing mountains with twin brother Jim as a way for the pair to battle asthma. His list of climbing accomplishments is impressive, starting in 1963 with a three-day ascent of Mount McKinley in Alaska and including a 1965 winter climb of Mt. Fuji. In 1975 he was a member of an American team attempting to climb K2, the world’s second tallest peak. In 1984, two years after an unsuccessful attempt, Lou led the first American team to summit Mt. Everest by climbing the mountain’s north wall. One year later, his climbing expertise was crucial in reaching many intact burial sites on a 1,000-foot cliff face in the Peruvian Andes. In the spring of 1989 and going by way of the North Wall, Lou led the first successful ascent by an American team to the top of Mt. Kangchenjunga in Nepal, the world’s third-tallest mountain. Six Americans reached the summit that day. Lou has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and many peaks in Europe with his wife Ingrid, who is from Munich, Germany. They have also trekked in Nepal and Bhutan.
Lou was born in Seattle in 1929 and graduated from West Seattle High School in 1947. He and Jim had Basketball scholarships to Seattle University. They graduated in 1952. Lou and brother Jim started guiding for the Rainier National Park Company in 1951, but in 1952 they were drafted into the Army following their college graduation. He incorporated his company, Rainier Mountaineering Inc., in 1968. It is the largest guide service and climbing school in the United States. Lou was the Chief Guide on Mount Rainier for over 30 years. With the Army, Lou was an instructor at the Mountain and Cold Weather Training Command. He is now an honorary member of the 10th Mountain Division, an elite mountaineering corps of the U.S. Army. Lou is a charter member of the Mountain Rescue Council and was one of the youngest members of the National Ski Patrol.