It was a rough day for Seattle Mariners fans.
Edgar Martinez, perhaps the most beloved player in franchise history, fell just short of election to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Martinez was named on 297 of the 422 ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, good for 70.4 percent, which is just short of the 75 percent needed for election. Edgar came up 20 votes short.
2018 MLB Hall of Fame Results:
Chipper Jones – 97.2%
Vladimir Guerrero – 92.9%
Jim Thome – 89.8%
Trevor Hoffman – 79.9%
Edgar Martinez – 70.4%
Mike Mussina – 63.5%
Roger Clemens – 57.3%
Barry Bonds – 56.4%
Curt Schilling – 51.2%
Omar Vizquel – 37.0%
Larry Walker – 34.1%
— Nick Canizales (@NickCanizales) January 24, 2018
For a Seattle fan base that’s been reeling, with the franchise missing the playoffs for the 16th straight year and then losing out on Japanese free agent Shohei Ohtani after going all-in, having Martinez fall short feels like another gut punch. It was particularly difficult considering Martinez was above the 75-percent mark throughout the tracking of publicly-released ballots prior to the announcement, but slipped under the bar at the last second. This was Martinez’s ninth year on the ballot, meaning he now has just one more year to get elected.
But allow me to inject a ray of light into the gloom. This year’s results still indicate Edgar will likely get in next year. Consider:
- Martinez’s momentum continues to surge forward. Remember, Edgar received just 27.0 percent of the vote in 2015. He stepped up to 43.3 percent in 2016, 58.6 percent last year and now 70.4 percent this year. His trend line remains strong, and he continues to mirror the path of Tim Raines, who received 46.6, 55.0 and 69.8 percent in his seventh, eighth and ninth years on the ballot before getting over the line in his final year last year with 86.0 percent.
- There will be less competition for votes next year. Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman all got in this year, which takes them off next year’s ballot. Meanwhile, the only name coming onto the ballot next year who’s certain to get heavy voting is Mariano Rivera. Fewer truly legitimate candidates works in Edgar’s favor.
- Players suspected of using performance-enhancing substances, like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, had been making strides in recent years. But their progress stalled this year, meaning they won’t necessarily draw any more votes away from Martinez.
The one thing working against Martinez is the fact that he played the majority of his career as a designated hitter, and there’s a faction of voters who disqualify him for not playing in the field. I suppose it could be possible Edgar has squeezed out all the votes he can from those who are amenable to the DH. But I sincerely doubt that, and if any of those voters are inclined to vote for David Ortiz when he becomes eligible, they’ll have some explaining to do if they didn’t vote for Edgar.
But regardless of whether (when) Edgar gets into the Hall of Fame, he’s always going to be this guy:
— Edgar Martinez (@11EdgarMartinez) January 24, 2018