Edgar Martinez falls just short in making baseball's Hall of Fame
SEATTLE -- Edgar Martinez will have to wait another year to see if he will be enshrined in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
The longtime Seattle Mariners designated hitter was named on 70.4 percent of the ballots -- coming up just short of the required 75 percent of votes cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame Election committee to be elected. Put another way, he was 20 votes short.
"I was disappointed, I wanted Edgar to get in today, right now," Seattle Mariners play-by-play announcer Rick Rizzs told KOMO News. "There's still so much bias against the designated hitter and I just can't believe it because it's been a part of the game since 1973 and the writers that don't vote for Edgar Martinez need to get over that fact. In the Hall of Fame, you have the best center fielders, you have the best third basemen... why not put in the best DH EVER in the history of baseball? Edgar deserves to be in there."
Martinez has one more year of eligibility on the ballot left, and will have to pin his hopes on being inducted in the 2019 class.
But the trend is promising, even if he was just short this year, as he has been gaining additional support over the past few years. He made a big jump in last year's voting, when he was named on 58.6 percent of 442 ballots cast. That continued a trend: He set his previous high of 43.4 percent in 2016 after never surpassing 36.5 percent in his first six years of eligibility.
"I think fans should be feeling somewhat confident about his chances of getting in next year, his 10th and final year on the ballot," noted hall vote tabulator Ryan Thibodaux told SeattlePI.com in December as early vote returns trickled in.
Martinez, who now serves as Seattle's hitting coach, was a career .312 hitter over 2,055 games spanning 18 major league seasons. The seven-time All-Star won two American League batting titles (1992 and 1995), hit 309 home runs and 514 doubles and drove in 1,261 RBIs over his career, which began in 1987. And he owns perhaps the most famous hit in Seattle Mariners' history -- The Double that drove in Joey Cora and Ken Griffey Jr. to advance the Mariners into the ALCS during their inaugural run in the baseball playoffs in 1995.
Martinez's Hall chances have been aided Ryan M. Spaeder, a 28-year-old fan from Virginia who sent statistical analyses to about 250 voters.
"We now have tools to evaluate players that we didn't have even 10 years ago, and it's easy now to compare Edgar, not just to other DHs but to other hitters, both of his era and all eras," former ESPN reporter Jayson Stark said. "He measures up against all of them."
The winner of five Silver Slugger Awards, his career .933 OPS ranks ahead of Hall of Famers like Hank Aaron (.929), Frank Robinson (.926) and former teammate Ken Griffey Jr. (.907), who became the first player ever inducted into the hall as a member of the Mariners in 2016.
"It's gonna happen next year for sure," Rizzs said. "He deserves to be among the great players in the history of baseball."
The award for baseball's best designated hitter, won by Seattle's Nelson Cruz in 2017, was named for Martinez in 2004.
If Martinez does make it in 2019, he'll likely join career saves leader Mariano Rivera, who is expected to be elected in his first year of eligbility.
SeattlePI.com and The Associated Press contributed to this report.