Mariners legend Edgar Martinez 73 votes shy of 2017 HOF induction
Edgar Martinez’s name was not among those to get the required 75 percent of votes turned in by eligible members of the Baseball Writers Association of America for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017, but he is getting ever closer.
Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez will make up the 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Class with 86.2 percent, 86 percent and 76 percent of votes, respectively. Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guererro were close behind at 74 percent and 71.7 percent, with Martinez atop the next tier of nominees at 58.6 percent. That number is a dramatic jump from the 43.3 percent of the vote Martinez earned in 2016.
In his eighth year of eligibility, Martinez’s name was checked on over two times the number of ballots it was in 2014. His increase of 15.2 percent from 2016 was the largest gain of any returning member of the ballot. The shift is timely as Martinez is just two years away from the 10-year limit for players to be on the ballot.
In the final year that voters have the option to not make their vote public, Edgar trended stronger in the early returns as tracked by @NotMrTibbs Ryan Thibodaux on Twitter. In the 250 ballots made public before the announcement, Edgar’s name was on 65.6 percent (164) of them. First-time voters had him on 71.4 percent of their ballots and he had a net gain of 42 votes among returning voters, the biggest jump for any nominee this year.
The trend toward making votes public most likely has contributed to the uptick for Martinez. The discussion that has been sparked by campaigns by both the Mariners and national members of the media – most notably MLB Network’s Brian Kenny and SI.com’s Jay Jaffe – would appear to be the biggest contributor. Numbers well beyond the traditional “counting stats” – batting average, hits, home runs – have been brought to the forefront, and with more advanced analytics, Martinez finds himself in the company of baseball’s greats.
There are still hurdles to overcome. There are a number of National League-only writers who never saw him play. There is a section of voters who believe the DH was not a full-time player and does not belong in the Hall of Fame. And there are still others who appear to have not taken the time to look at all of the numbers and dismiss his prime as too short.
What cannot be disputed: A top 30 wRC. An OPS+ that ties him for 25th among Hall of Famers. A ridiculous WAR for a designated hitter. Two batting titles, five Silver Sluggers, six top-10 finishes in slugging. Being one of only four players with at least 7,500 plate appearances since 1945 to post a career on-base percentage of at least .418, and one of just 21 players in MLB history to have a lifetime batting average over .300, on-base percentage over .400 and slugging percentage over .500. And, of course, the annual award for the best designated hitter in baseball is named after him. These numbers and honors should speak loudly.
A good jump for Martinez, but there is work still to be done.