The former Mariners designated hitter — now the team’s hitting coach — received his highest vote total, 191, from 440 ballots. The 43.4 percent is the highest he has received.
It would have been Mariners baseball perfection similar to Game 5 of the 1995 American Division Series against the Yankees. Ken Griffey Jr. could lead it off with his induction speech, and Edgar Martinez could finish off the ceremony in walkoff fashion.
But alas, the Baseball Hall of Fame isn’t the decrepit, eardrum-shattering Kingdome, and the dream scenario for Mariners fans won’t play out again in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Though Griffey earned the highest percent of possible votes in Baseball Hall of Fame history Wednesday at 99.3 percent, Martinez remained on the outside looking in. He was well short of appearing on the required 75 percent of the ballots to earn induction into the Hall of Fame.
In his seventh season of eligibility, there was some optimism for the current Mariners hitting coach. Martinez received his highest vote total — 191 — from 440 ballots. The 43.4 percent is the highest he has received.
Still, a year ago Martinez received votes on 26.2 percent of the ballots and more than his previous high of 36.5 percent in 2012. It’s a significant increase that should only continue. He has three more years of eligibility.
“For me, I am really encouraged, and thankful, in the increase of votes,” he said. “I certainly didn’t expect to be elected today, but it is always a little disappointing when it becomes official. Although, I’m so happy for Ken; that makes it a little easier.”
Griffey knew his friend and former teammate wasn’t going to be elected. But he believes Martinez is worthy of joining him in Cooperstown.
“Do I think he should be in? Yes,” Griffey said. “I played with the guy. I know what he’s done. It’s just tough. They talk about him being a DH. But that’s not really his fault. He went out there and hit every day like he was playing in the field.”
Martinez’s offensive numbers are outstanding, and he was one of the most-feared right-handed hitters in the American League.
He played 18 seasons with the Mariners, appearing in 2,055 games and posting a batting average of .312 with a .418 on-base percentage and .515 slugging percentage. He hit 514 career doubles with 309 homers and drove in 1,261 runs. He played in seven All-Star Games and won four Silver Slugger awards.
But his biggest knock that many voters hold against him was being a designated hitter for much of his career.
The 2014 induction of Frank Thomas should help Martinez. Thomas appeared in more games at designated hitter (1,310) than at first base (969).
Martinez played in 1,403 games as a designated hitter, 564 at third base and 28 at first base.