A Shrine to the Ancient Mariner
Not too many 16-year-olds can afford to spend $10,000 on
game-used items of their favorite player, but Ryan Robertson can.
The teenager's entrepreneurial skills have enabled
him to put together what is, perhaps, the largest Edgar Martinez collection in the world.
"I've been very blessed
at a young age ... I make all my money to buy these items off of selling on eBay. I sell mainly other Mariners autographs,"
Originally, the Enumclaw, Washington native collected all Mariners memorabilia, but financial constraints
forced him to focus on the ageless M's DH.
"Collecting everything got to be kind of expensive," he admits. "So I went
to collecting my all-time favorite player, Edgar Martinez."
It was the two-time batting champ's perseverance and dedication
that initially endeared him to Robertson.
"I liked him because of all the hard work he had to do to get to the majors.
He spent almost seven years in the minors," he says.
But it has been the slugger's commitment to being a positive
role model that has maintained his young fan's interest in him.
"In an article I read, Edgar said, 'I hope I can be
a role model to kids. Kids are very important. They need people to look up to no matter where they are from or where they
live,'" Robertson recounts. "I think that is a pretty amazing thing to say I guess you can say I look up to him as a role
model in my own life."
And judging by the size of the teen's collection, he looks up to the .300 hitter a lot. Through
relentless searching on eBay, online stores, and memorabilia shops, Robertson has amassed a massive collection that boasts
cards, balls, bobble heads, photos and even Martinez's name plate from his locker at the 2003 All-Star Game.
and joy, however, is his game-used collection that includes jerseys, bats, jackets, wristbands, cleats, and batting gloves.
"My favorite item is Edgar's jersey from 2000 when he had a career-high 145 RBIs," he says.
The young Martinez
devotee currently has two collecting missions: to find batting helmets worn by the seven-time all-star and to own an entire
uniform donned by his baseball idol.
"I would really like to get a complete game-used uniform pants and everything,"
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