Mariners fan favorite, Edgar Martinez, garnered 58.6 percent of the Hall of Fame vote, a promising improvement over last year’s finish.
Many of you reading this have likely kept up with Edgar’s journey toward the baseball Hall of Fame over the past seven years.
Now in his eighth year on the ballot, Martinez was named on 58.6 percent of the ballots, a 15.2 percent improvement over last year’s 43.4 percent.
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The 54-year-old and current Mariners hitting coach wasn’t expected to gain the 75 percent of votes needed to be enshrined.
However, many foresaw him getting the jump in votes he received over last year’s tally. He now needs a jump of at least 16.4 percent over his final two years of eligibility to finally be enshrined in Cooperstown.
As recent as this afternoon, Ryan Thibodaux’s ballot tracker had Martinez at 65 percent through 250 revealed ballots before the official results were released today at 3 pm PST.
As you can see, his final count dropped about 6 percent due to the number of votes he got from writers who didn’t make their ballots public.
The increase in votes looks promising for his chances of getting voted in by his 10th year of eligibility as Tim Raines just did. But if all else fails, Martinez could still get in through the Veterans Committee vote further down the line.
His jump in votes comes on the heels of the hall of fame cutting the voters who had not been active members for more than 10 years. The result of the change was that the electorate became younger and more in tune to sabermetric evaluations of players.
This bodes well for Martinez, who is one of only 18 players in MLB history have posted a career slash line of .300/.400/.500, who finished his 18-year career with a slash of .312/.418/.515.
Many writers are changing their stance on the designated hitter as well. With David Ortiz retired, many see him as a first ballot hall of famer despite being a DH for nearly all of his career.
While Ortiz has the sexy numbers with 549 career home runs compared to Edgar’s 309, Martinez trumps him in several other categories.
According to Baseball-Reference, Martinez posted a career WAR of 68.3 to Ortiz’s 50.4. Martinez also leads Ortiz in career OBP, .418 to .378, and OPS, .933 to .931.
Numbers aside, several players have given Martinez some high praise as one of the greatest hitters in the game.
“The toughest – and thank God he retired – Edgar Martinez. Oh my God. I think every pitcher will say that, because this man was tough. Great man, though – respected the game, did what he had to do for his team,” said former Yankee closer Mariano Rivera
Coming from arguably the greatest closer in baseball history, that is a huge endorsement. Even Ortiz has had plenty of good things to say about Martinez.
“I remember when I was coming up, I used to watch a guy like Edgar hit and I was like, ‘This is ridiculous’…He’s a .312 career hitter. When you’re a .312 career hitter at this level, that means you pretty much got everything down,” said recently retired Ortiz.
And of course, Edgar’s long time teammate Ken Griffey Jr. has some words of advice to the same voters who voted him in last year.
“Edgar deserves to be in. I played with the guy. I know what he’s done,” said Griffey.
Although many Mariners fans view Martinez as a surefire hall of famer, he still has a long way to go. His jump to 58.6 percent shows plenty of promise. Next year he may crack 70 percent, or who knows, he may even get elected.
But for now, his 15.2 percent increase is a victory of its own. And until the day the beloved Edgar Martinez gains baseball immortality, those who endorse him will continue to push voters to include him on their ballots in his final two years of eligibility.