Baseball Hall of Fame 2019: Why Edgar Martinez deserves to make it to Cooperstown on his final year on the ballot

Edgar Martinez is in his 10th and final year on the Baseball Writers Association of America ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Last year, Martinez was named on 70.4 percent of Hall of Fame ballots, falling 20 votes shy of the 75 percent standard for induction. 

Over time Martinez's supporters have continued to vouch for his career as being Hall of Fame worthy. His voting percentage has steadily gone up since his first year on the ballot in 2009, and Martinez's Hall of Fame case seems to have finally reached its peak this year, especially after the Today's Game Committee voted for Harold Baines' induction last month. Baines served as a designated hitter for 1,643 of his 2,830 career games, and Martinez did the same for 1,403 games of his 2,055 career games. 

Martinez, who played 18 seasons for the Seattle Mariners, became the team's regular third baseman in 1990 at the age of 27. Two years later, he was the American League batting champion -- the first of his two league batting titles. But in 1993 and 1994, injuries limited him and as a result, manager Lou Piniella moved him to designated hitter in 1995 -- a position he reinvented. So much so that in 2004, Major League Baseball renamed the Outstanding Designated Hitter Award, presented annually to the top DH, the Edgar Martinez Award.

Martinez is the only DH with a career line of .310/.410/.510 or better. His career stats: .312/.418/.515 (147 OPS+, 68.4 WAR) with 2,247 hits, 514 doubles, 309 home runs, 1,261 RBI and 1,219 runs. From 1990-2001, Martinez batted .321/.429/.537 with a 155 OPS+.

The seven-time All Star topped out at third place in the 1995 AL Most Valuable Player voting when he led the league in doubles, average, OBP, OPS, OPS+, and runs scored. That same season, Martinez hit .571/.667/1.000 in the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees. In Game 4 with the Mariners trailing the Yankees 2-1 in the series, Martinez hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and collected seven RBI. But his greatest postseason moment came when he drove home the tying and winning runs in Game 5.

Martinez is one of only 10 players in MLB history to have collected 300-plus home runs, 500-plus doubles, and 1,000-plus walks while boasting an average over .300 and an on-base percentage over .400. Six from the list have been inducted in Cooperstown: Babe Ruth, Chipper Jones, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musial and Ted Williams. His 147 OPS+ is tied for 35th, the same as Hall of Famers Jim Thome, Mike Schmidt, Willie McCovey and Willie Stargell. 

On Jan. 22, Martinez should get his call, but if he misses the 75 percent threshold, his door to Cooperstown won't be closed. The Today's Era committee, whose focus is on players with primary contributions from 1988 to present, next selects players at the winter meetings in 2021 and 2023.

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