Wait nearly over, Martinez's Hall call in reach
Mariners' legendary DH named on 90 percent of votes as of Tuesday afternoon
SEATTLE -- For the past nine years, Edgar Martinez has quietly awaited word on the National Baseball Hall of Fame voting each January, then gone about his business after being informed that his numbers didn't quite add up.
Each year, the Mariners' standout designated hitter patiently got on the phone with a couple reporters -- usually in individual calls, occasionally on a conference call -- shortly after the voting was announced and talked about how it felt to come up short and his thoughts on whether he'd ever make it to Cooperstown.
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And then he'd go back to whatever he was doing that day, picking up his kids from school, staying involved with several business ventures he'd undertaken after retirement from baseball, or in recent years, preparing for Spring Training with the Mariners as their hitting coach.
This year is different. This year, the 56-year-old appears a near-certainty to be inducted into the Hall of Fame based on the results of more than 50 percent of the Baseball Writers' Association of America votes that have been made public via Ryan Thibodaux's Hall of Fame tracker prior to Tuesday's 3 p.m. PT announcement show on MLB Network.
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In Martinez's 10th and final year of eligibility on the ballot, he's currently been named on just more than 90 percent of the public votes and thus appears poised to join Ken Griffey Jr. as just the second player who spent the majority of his career with the Mariners to earn the call to the Hall.
"It looks good so far," Martinez acknowledged Monday, the eve of the big day. "Today when I got up, it was the first day I think it just felt like this is really close and it looks very positive. So I know it's a little different. And, yeah, [Tuesday] will be even more different, for sure."
Martinez is in New York on a family vacation with his wife, Holli, and three kids, Alex, Tessa and Jacqueline. They attended a Broadway play -- The Book of Mormon -- on Sunday night. On Monday, they celebrated Tessa's 17th birthday with a trip to an escape room and dinner on the town.
As for Tuesday?
"In the morning, I always have the same routine," Martinez said. "I'm not going to change anything until the afternoon, when the results are supposed to come out. We'll probably have lunch, come back to the room and wait."
Waiting is something the patient Martinez has turned into a positive.
"I don't see it like it's been a big negative," he said. "The main thing is, if it happens, it's a great honor. I think I'm more mature now, and the family is a little older, and we can enjoy it more. I think the wait as a family, we all can enjoy the moment now."
Sometimes, having to work harder or wait longer for something brings added perspective and the accomplishment means even more.
"I was thinking about that today," Martinez said. "It's not a bad thing it hasn't happened sooner. It's actually pretty good."
That is assuming, of course, that Martinez is indeed named on the required 75 percent of the ballots to earn an induction. But that trend has seemed increasingly likely as more and more votes were released this winter.
Martinez has always polled higher on the votes that are made public -- which typically are made by younger voters who are active on social media or currently are working for publications that publish their ballots -- and sees his percentage fall when the private votes are added.
Last year, he was named on 77.3 percent of the votes made public prior to the Hall's announcement, but wound up at 70.4 percent in the final balloting when he came up 20 votes shy of election. This year, he's running at the much-safer 90-percent range and, as of Monday afternoon, had already picked up 25 votes from writers who didn't include him last year.
If things go as expected, he'll join Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay -- both eligible for the first time -- at Cooperstown for the induction of the 2019 Hall of Fame class on July 21. Rivera has been named on 100 percent of the published ballots so far, and Halladay is at almost 93 percent.
Mike Mussina appears a possibility as well, and he's currently polling at 81 percent. Lee Smith and Harold Baines will also be inducted after being selected by this year's Today's Game Era Committee.
But for now, Martinez waits. Only this time, the process has an end date. And a likely finish in Cooperstown.