Call it an encouraging but still disappointing outcome.
Mariners icon Edgar Martinez, despite a significant surge in support, fell short Wednesday in this year’s balloting for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He has two remaining years of ballot eligibility.
"I think it’s moving in the right direction," he said. "We knew it wasn’t going to happen this year. This year was more a look-and-see if things increase and how close it gets me to the 75 percent (required for election)."
Three players were elected among the 34 candidates in balloting by 442 members of Baseball Writers’ Association of America: First baseman Jeff Bagwell, outfielder Tim Raines and catcher Pudge Rodriguez.
Election required that a player by cited on 332 — 75 percent — of the returned ballots. Reliever Trevor Hoffman fell five votes short. Outfielder Vladimir Guerrero missed by 15 votes.
Martinez, 54, finished sixth at 58.6 percent with 259 votes, which marked a second straight double-digit percentage jump in his support. He languished at 27 percent in the 2015 balloting before jumping last year to 43.4 percent.
"I think there has been more discussion about my situation," said Martinez, who spent much of his career as a designated hitter. "There’s almost been a debate about it…They’re looking more at sabermetric numbers and taking into consideration all of those numbers.
“It seems to me like it’s helping."
Raines, Bagwell and Rodriguez will join former commissioner Bud Selig and former Atlanta and Kansas City general manager John Schuerholz in the July 30 induction ceremony near the museum’s site in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Selig and Schuerholz were elected last month by the Today’s Game Era committee, which is one of three committees that review candidates who are either no longer eligible or were never eligible in the BBWAA balloting.
Raines, 57, gained election in his 10th and final year on the ballot when chosen on 86 percent of the ballots. He batted .294 with a .385 on-base percentage and 808 stolen bases in a 23-year career with six teams.
Tellingly, Raines appeared to benefit from an increased significance placed on advanced metrics in recent years by many voters. That same wave appears to account for least some of Martinez’s support.
Martinez batted .312 with 309 homers and 1,261 RBIs in an 18-year career spent entirely with the Mariners, but his .418 on-base percentage ranks 21st in history, and his .933 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) ranks 33rd.
"I thank everyone, all of the people," he said, "including the Mariners’ organization, who have done a great job of getting the information to the writers. I see some of the things on twitter, how many of the fans are very supportive.
"I thank all of them and appreciate what they are doing. Hopefully it happens in the next two years. It was an honor to play here, and it’s real humbling to see the support of the fans and how they wanted (me) to get in. I’m almost lost for words."
Bagwell, 48, was elected in his seventh year by gaining 86.2 percent of the votes. He was a narrow miss last year at 71.6 percent after a 15-year career spent entirely with Houston. He had 449 homers, 1,259 RBIs and a .297 average in 2,157 games.
Rodriguez, 45, was elected in his first year of eligibility after a 21-year career with six clubs. A 14-time All-Star, he finished with 311 homers, 1,332 RBIs and a .296 average while winning 13 Gold Gloves for defensive excellence.
It was close. Rodriguez cleared the threshold by just four votes in finishing at 76 percent.
Pitcher Roger Clemens and outfielder Barry Bonds, two of the game’s most-impactful players, each made significant gains in a bid to overcome their connection with performance-enhancing drugs.
Clemens finished seventh at 54.1 percent, while Bonds was eighth at 53.8 percent. They finished last season at 45.2 and 44.3 percent.
Hoffman, Guerrero, Martinez, Clemens and Bonds were among 14 players who will return on next year’s ballot after receiving at least 5 percent of the vote. Reliever Lee Smith finished at 34.2 percent but has no eligibility remaining.
Only two other players, both pitchers, received at least 30 percent: Mike Mussina at 51.8, and Curt Schilling at 45.0.
THE HALL OF FAME VOTE
(442 ballots returned; 332 required for election):
Jeff Bagwell 381 (86.2), Tim Raines 380 (86.0), Ivan Rodriguez 336 (76.0), Trevor Hoffman 327 (74.0), Vladimir Guerrero 317 (71.7), Edgar Martinez 259 (58.6), Roger Clemens 239 (54.1), Barry Bonds 238 (53.8), Mike Mussina 229 (51.8), Curt Schilling 199 (45.0), Lee Smith 151 (34.2), Manny Ramirez 105 (23.8), Larry Walker 97 (21.9), Fred McGriff 96 (21.7), Jeff Kent 74 (16.7), Gary Sheffield 59 (13.3), Billy Wagner 45 (10.2), Sammy Sosa 38 (8.6), Jorge Posada 17 (3.8), Magglio Ordonez 3 (0.7), Edgar Renteria 2 (0.5), Jason Varitek 2 (0.5), Tim Wakefield 1 (0.2), Casey Blake 0, Pat Burrell 0, Orlando Cabrera 0, Mike Cameron 0, J.D. Drew 0, Carlos Guillen 0, Derrek Lee 0, Melvin Mora 0, Arthur Rhodes 0, Freddy Sanchez 0, Matt Stairs 0.