The 2018 Hall of Fame class was announced today, and it will once again not contain Edgar Martinez. The inductees are:
Edgar received 70.4% percent of the vote, leaving him under 5%—19 votes—short of the votes needed for induction. Allow me, if you will, a brief moment of looking back and potentially turning into a pillar of the saltiest salt that ever salted saltingly: if Jon Heyman, John Perrotto, and had kept Edgar on their ballots...well, he’s still not in, but he’s closer.
This is frustrating, maddening, upsetting. It’s also hopeful.
This year, longtime Edgar no-voters Murray Chass—who submitted a blank ballot last year—and Tracy Ringolsby both checked off Edgar’s name. He polled, consistently, much higher than he was at any of the previous years:
Year over year tracking through 240 ballots for Edgar Martinez. pic.twitter.com/I0dW1la5bO— Ryan Thibodaux (@NotMrTibbs) January 24, 2018
The elder statesmen of the BBWAA continue to be exfoliated from the voting body, to be replaced by younger, more saber-focused writers who look more kindly on Edgar’s case. Edgar didn’t suffer the precipitous drop he has in the past on non-public ballots, and that trend should continue. Most encouragingly, Edgar took a huge jump this year from 58.6% to 70.4%. No candidate has ever polled as highly as Edgar did this year and failed to get in. After just missing last year, Trevor Hoffman made it this year, and the Hall has its first “specialist.” There is good reason to think Edgar will be the next one, especially as he approaches his final year on the ballot, when candidates usually see a bump in support. He was already up a net of 25 votes over last year and should see that number increase again with a large induction class clearing some space on the ballot (although this might be offset by a few big names being added next year in Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Todd Helton and Andy Pettitte). This is all good news, and reason to seriously consider looking into a trip to Cooperstown in 2019 (I wish you could all experience the feeling I just got typing that sentence).
But for today, it’s sad news, as again our hero—the man who helped save baseball in Seattle, who has never worn any professional uniform other than that of the Seattle Mariners, who has done untold amounts of charity work to better the community; the five-time Silver Slugger and seven-time All-Star who posted a career slash line that is absolutely Hall-worthy—falls short of being recognized at baseball’s highest level for the player he was and the man he is. It’s shameful and it’s sad. Edgar has one more year to make it in; expect to see a strong push from the Mariners, from baseball writers (and blogs), and fans alike to campaign for the voters to recognize what we all know to be true: Edgar Martinez is a Hall of Famer.