It's Edgar Martinez's final year on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. The Mariners' legendary DH has made significant strides, but he fell about 5 percentage points short in 2018. Is this the year? We're logging every vote cast up until announcement day in January right here.
It’s officially Edgar Martinez’s final year on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. After nine excruciating campaigns in search of 75 percent, Edgar came closer than ever last year, receiving 70.4 percent of the vote — or 20 votes short.
The Mariners’ legendary DH has made significant strides the past two years, though. If he continues to gain votes at that pace, it would be enough to put him over the top in 2019. The inductions last year of Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman — tied for the largest HOF class since 1936, the year it was conceived — could clear the way for new Martinez votes. But this year’s newcomers include Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Todd Helton and Andy Pettitte.
Do temper any expectations from numbers shown here, as vote totals tend to drop from non-public ballots. Edgar was tracking above the threshold up until announcement day in 2018 — 76.3 percent at last count — but finished with 70.4 percent of the final vote. In 2017, Martinez appeared on 164 of 250 ballots made public (65.6 percent) but ultimately finished with 58.6 percent. In 2016, Martinez appeared on 47.1 percent of public ballots but received nearly 4 percent fewer actual votes.
The Hall of Fame Class of 2019 will be announced Jan. 22, 2019 at 3 p.m. on MLB Network.
Below is live total of the ballots released that will continue to update.
Total votes: 208
Total ballots: 232
vs. 2018: +25 votes
Darker shade=vote gained or lost
* = first-time voter
Special thanks to Hall of Fame ballot aficionado Ryan Thibodaux, who has compiled every public Hall of Fame ballot for the past five years. Follow him on Twitter @NotMrTibbs and view this year’s live spreadsheet with each writer’s full ballot here.
“I was voting for Edgar before the Today’s Game Committee brought humiliation on both the Hall and the unfortunate Harold Baines — voting him in as perhaps the worst position player selected in the past 40 years — but Baines’ inclusion makes Edgar’s exclusion through nine ballots even more inexplicable. Martinez racked up nearly 70 WAR despite contributing nothing on defense and, as a lifetime DH, having to produce even more to get so far above the replacement level for that position. He was exceptional at getting on base, finishing 17th all time with a .418 career OBP. His career would have been more impressive had Seattle not held him in the minors so long, refusing to give him regular playing time until he turned 27 — unthinkable today, since he destroyed Triple-A even at age 24, but it was a more ignorant time. If you think David Ortiz is a Hall of Famer, then Edgar is too.”
“I have been a staunch advocate for Edgar Martinez and Curt Schilling. Edgar got 70 percent of the vote last year, and in this his final year of eligibility, he should finally get his proper recognition as the most respected American League righthanded hitter of his time. I didn’t say ‘feared.’ That was Manny. But Edgar was respected for what he did and how he carried himself. The only reason he has been kept out thus far is the anti-DH feelings of some National League-oriented voters. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. That bias, and not any PED taint, is what might get in Big Papi’s way.”
“The analysts/stat guys (as have the Mariners) have taken up the cause for Martinez, it’s almost a crusade in some cases and I have been swayed that he is deserving. I voted for him once or twice in the past after initially resisting due to a combination of his position as DH and low bulk totals for a Hall of Famer (last year, he just didn’t quite make my top 10), and I voted for him again this year in his final year of eligibility, which is the time when we all need to take a closer look. But if I vote for Martinez, after a close review of their careers, I conclude that I must also vote for Berkman, whose career was so similar it’s hard to decide who is better.”
“Never have understood the debate over Martinez, which in too many instances comes down to the fact he had bad knees and thus had to work most years as a designated hitter. Then again, as a hitter, he’s worth designating: .312 average during 18 seasons, a gaudy .418 on-base average, and a .515 slugging percentage, which translates to quite the OPS of .933. Martinez by now should have been in Cooperstown. This is his last crack at the writers’ ballot. In the name of justice, he needs to be elected.”
“Choosing to drop Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling, all of whom appeared on my ballot last year, was difficult. But in re-thinking my own evaluation process, as borderline candidates who sat atop the gray area — but still resided slightly below Olympus — they no longer fit. … Deciding to leave them out this year is not a statement, or punishment, or some sort of nefarious grandstanding ploy. Believe me, I don’t have any holes in my life that have to be filled by attention over a Hall of Fame ballot.”
“I switched over to a Martínez vote last year and I stuck with it this year. That career 147 OPS+ is impossible to ignore (tied with Thome, Willie McCovey, Mike Schmidt and Willie Stargell) and Hall of Fame expert Jay Jaffe’s argument finally convinced me that Martínez’s career landed at a HOF level.”
“I am not against designated hitters getting into the Hall of Fame. After all, DHs are people, too, and they can make quite an impact on American League games. Martinez has been on and off my ballot during his 10 years of eligibility, getting bumped at times for better all-round players. However, he is the greatest DH of all-time and deserves a spot in Cooperstown.”