Edgar Martinez, a seven-time All-Star for the Mariners between 1987-04, came agonizingly close to making the Baseball Hall of Fame Wednesday, but fell 20 votes short of election in his ninth year on the ballot. Martinez received 297 votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America out of 422 cast, or 70.4 percent. He needed 75 percent.
Martinez has one more year on the regular ballot before his candidacy will become the province of the Veterans Committee.
Martinez had another remarkable surge in the polling, receiving an 11.8-percent bump over 2017 when he collected 58.6 percent of the vote.
In pre-announcement tracking of votes made public through Monday (about 57 percent of the total), he had 77.5 percent. The non-public ballots failed him, making him the first one left out of a four-man class of 2018 that includes Chipper Jones (92.2 percent), Vladimir Guerrero (92.9), Jim Thome (89.8) and Trevor Hoffman (79.9).
Martinez hit .312 with a .418 on-base percentage and .515 slugging percentage in 18 major league seasons, all with the Mariners. He was the American League’s top DH five times in his career. The award presented annually to the league’s top DH is named in his honor.
But Martinez did not produce either of two numbers that would have guaranteed him entry into Cooperstown. He hit 309 homers when the standard is 500 and collected 2,247 hits, well shy of 3,000.
Martinez trended well in votes made public — transparency is optional, not mandatory, among the voters — tracking at 80.7 percent as late as Friday. By Monday, his support slipped to 77.9 before dropping to 70.4 in the final accounting. The same thing happened last year. He received 65.9 percent of the publicly known ballots and finished with 58.6 of the actual vote.
Two players with significant ties to the Mariners were on the 33-man ballot for the first time. SS Omar Vizquel (1989-93) received 156 votes, or 37 percent, while LHP Jamie Moyer, who played in Seattle from 1996-05, got 10 votes, or 2.4 percent.