This should be a bittersweet moment for Edgar Martinez. On the bitter side of things, he didn't make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, falling 20 votes shy of the 75 percent he needed to get in. This is the ninth time he's been on the ballot and the ninth time the news has been "no soup for you." Martinez finished with 70.4 percent of ballots having selected him.
On the sweet side of things, however it looks like 2019 will be the year for Edgar and the cross-country trip to Cooperstown for his legions of Seattle-area fans.
Martinez spent all 18 seasons of his career with the Mariners, though he wasn't a full-timer until his fourth year. He hit .312/.418/.515 (147 OPS+) with 2,247 hits, 514 doubles, 309 home runs, 1,261 RBI and 1,219 runs. He topped out at third in MVP voting in 1995 when he led the league in doubles, average, OBP, OPS, OPS+, and runs scored. That same season, he hit .571/.667/1.000 in the five-game ALDS, driving home the tying and winning runs in Game 5 for the greatest moment in Mariners history. Despite spending most of his career at DH, Martinez is considered a worthy Hall of Fame candidate by many.
Now, there are two reasons for great optimism when it comes to Martinez's chances to be inducted next year.
The drastic rise
As the years have passed, Martinez's supporters have continued to change minds regarding his Hall-worthiness. Further, players who spent a lot of time at DH like Frank Thomas and now Jim Thome have gotten in. Closer Trevor Hoffman making it might also sway some for the next vote that a specialist is permitted to join the Hall. Lots of voters who haven't covered baseball in the past 10 years have been purged from the voting bloc since the 2014 vote, too, and many of those voters were Small Hall and anti-DH types. This confluence of factors has brought incredible momentum for Martinez in these last several votes. Check it out:
The 75 percent finish line is nigh.
Also working in Martinez's favor -- since there's a limit of 10 votes per ballot per voter -- is how well the ballot has been clearing these last few votes. After the embarrassing 2013 shutout, the BBWAA has collectively gotten the job done the past several votes. Here are the names that came off the ballot via induction.
2014: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas
2015: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Craig Biggio, John Smoltz
2016: Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza
2017: Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez
2018: Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman
That's a lot of names Martinez has had to wait through and they are now out of the way. He's the top vote-getter among the holdovers for the 2019 Hall of Fame vote. The only first-timers who have a shot to leap over Martinez are Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay.
Even if Martinez has to play third fiddle to them next time around, he's very likely to get in.
As noted, this is likely a very bittersweet result in the Martinez household.