Mariners fans rejoice! All time great Edgar Martinez has finally reached baseball immortality and has become a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This was his tenth and final year of being on the ballot, which made the announcement much more surreal and special.
Looking at Martinez’s career statistics, it should have been a much easier journey to induction for him. He had a career batting average of .312 and an on base percentage of .418 to go along with his 309 home runs. Those three vital, and impressive, numbers together would make almost anyone else a first ballot Hall-of-Famer — so why was Martinez’s induction delayed?
Martinez was a designated hitter, rarely played defense and was primarily a hitter. He played a small amount of first and third base early in his career, but was a DH for the majority of time playing. Many voters argued that his time playing the game was mostly one-sided and therefore did not earn him a spot in the Hall. Martinez is a player who had the yearly designated hitter award named after him in 2003, but some voters still had a closed mind to the idea.
In order to be inducted, a player must receive 75 percent of the votes out of the total ballots sent in. In 2019, there were 425 ballots, which meant a player needed to have 319 votes. In years before, the highest Martinez ever hit was 70.4 percent in 2018. This gave him the momentum to make one final push in his last year on the ballot. Voters seemed to have a change of heart after he ended up hitting a mark of 85.4 percent.
The love and support from Mariners fans everywhere never faded. They were always in Martinez’s corner, using the hashtag #EdgarHOF in any social media post they could. During his press conference, people could see how much the support meant to him.
“I really appreciate all the support,” Marinez said. “Also, I’d like to thank the Seattle fans for an amazing 18 years as a player. And they’ve been supporting me as a Hall of Fame candidate. Their support has been amazing, incredible.”
Many past and current players also voiced their support for Edgar — one of them being fellow 2019 inductee and former Yankee closer Mariano Rivera. Rivera was asked about the toughest hitters he had ever faced in a 2013 interview.
“The toughest — and thank God he retired — Edgar Martinez,” Rivera said. “Oh my God. I think every pitcher will say that, because this man was tough. Great man, though — respected the game, did what he had to do for his team.”
Martinez batted an incredible .579 in head-to-head matchups with the Hall of Fame pitcher. To put that in perspective, all other Major League Baseball hitters batted a combined .211 off of him — over a 300 point difference.
Martinez deserved this not only because of his outstanding ability, but because of the great and humble person he is. He earned the utmost respect from his teammates and was looked at as a leader in the clubhouse. He is the perfect model of what you would want a ballplayer to be when it comes to on and off the field conduct, and this was the perfect way to cement him in baseball history for good.
“The journey has been amazing I would’ve never thought all this would happen to me,” Martinez said. “It’s just an incredible feeling. I’m trying to not allow myself to think about those things a lot. I feel very humble and blessed.”