When National Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson stepped to the podium Wednesday afternoon, there were but four names printed on the list in the ballot envelope. Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman and Jim Thome cards were read as they are headed to Cooperstown this July for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Edgar Martinez will have to wait one more year.
After a winter of ballot reveal frenzy, which saw Edgar peaking at just over 85 percent at the 80-ballot mark and holding steady at 78-80 percent through 200 votes, his total began to fall. He finished with his name on 70.4 percent of the ballots, 20 votes shy of induction. The decline was expected. Edgar has not fared as well with the electorate that chooses not to reveal their ballots before the Hall of Fame announcement.
Despite the fall and coming up short of Cooperstown once again, Martinez made his biggest strides toward fulfilling the dream of taking his place among baseball’s greats. After finishing with 58.6 percent of the votes in 2017, Martinez is less than 5 percent shy of the required 75 percent for induction to the Hall of Fame. Bad news, yes. But discouraging? It shouldn’t be.
Edgar has one more year of eligibility left, and the trends are nothing but good for him. From those who revealed their votes before Wednesday’s announcement, Edgar picked up 28 new votes from returning voters who had not voted for him the previous year. He was also on the ballots of eight of 11 first-time voters before announcement. Strong candidates historically have seen the additional push on their final try, which is a reason to be optimistic next year will be his year.
In addition to the actual votes that have been picked up, another thing that should ultimately prove to be invaluable to his eventual election are the discussions of his career and candidacy that are being had. Those have been boosted in large part by Brian Kenny of the MLB Network and Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated, and supplemented by numbers and information from the Mariners, who have been putting together a respectful and appropriate campaign for their guy since 2012. The word is out and the discussions will continue.
What won’t change are the numbers. Career stats of a .300+ average, .400+ on-base percentage, 300+ home runs, 500+ doubles and 1000+ walks is Hall worthy, as is a slash line of .310/.410/.510 that only Edgar and 14 others in the history of the game have hit. The only member of that club that retired before Edgar and isn’t in the Hall of Fame is Shoeless Joe Jackson.
Regardless of position or lack of position, Edgar put up the numbers. The only number that matters right now is 75 percent, and he is well on his way.
One more year, Papi. One more year.
— Edgar Martinez (@11EdgarMartinez) January 24, 2018