Is the ninth time the charm for Edgar Martinez?
The former Seattle Mariner star’s Hall of Fame prospects seem as promising as ever as the first ballots become public.
According to ballot tracker Ryan Thibodaux, of the 47 Hall of Fame ballots that have been released publicly or anonymously, Martinez appears on 39.
He’ll need to get votes on 75 percent of the estimated 416 ballots (312 votes) to earn enshrinement. With only about 11 percent of the ballots accounted for, 83 percent are cast for Martinez.
Most promising for Martinez is that eight of the votes are coming from writers who did not vote for him last year. But Martinez still has a lot of ground to make up.
He came as close to gaining enshrinement as he ever has last season when he received 58.6 percent of the votes. He’s been gaining votes since 2014, when he received 25.2 percent of the votes. Getting to 75 percent this year would require the largest yet increase in votes.
“I don't think Edgar fans should get their hopes up too much for this year,” Thibodaux told the Seattle PI. “It was always going to be incredibly difficult for him to make up all the ground he needs to this year alone.”
The Class of 2018 will be announced on Jan. 24. If Martinez misses the cut again, he can appear on the 2019 ballot, but players are removed from the ballot after 10 years.
Twenty-one players appear on the 2018 ballot; members of the Baseball Writers Association of America can vote for up to 10. Since 2010, when Martinez first appeared on the ballot, an average of two players per year have been voted in by the writers. In 2015, four players were selected. In 2013, none made the cut.
The veterans committee can also select players for induction after they no longer appear on the ballot. Former Detroit Tigers stars Jack Morris and Alan Trammell have already been selected by the committee for the 2018 class.
Martinez played 18 seasons for the Mariners and hit .312 with 309 homers. The argument against his enshrinement has traditionally centered around the fact that he was designated hitter. Frank Thomas is the only Hall of Famer to play more than half of his career (56.4 percent of his 2,322 games) as a designated hitter. Martinez played 68.3 percent (1,403 games) of his career as designated hitter and 27.3 percent at third base.
He won the Outstanding Designated Hitter Award five times. When he retired the award was renamed the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award.
Five former Mariners have made the Hall of Fame: Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Gaylord Perry and Rich “Goose Gossage. Of those, only Griffey is depicted in a Mariners cap on his plaque.