The Hall of Fame wait continues for Mariners icon Edgar Martinez, who so defined the skills desired in a designated hitter that baseball’s annual award for excellence in that role bears his name.
Martinez received 25.2 percent of the 571 votes cast in the balloting announced Wednesday by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and shown live by MLB Network.
Election requires a minimum of 75 percent.
“The class going in is well-deserved, first-ballot players for sure,” Martinez told MLB.com. “That is great. I kind of was expecting that it was a pretty good chance my percentage was going to go down.
“I wasn’t sure how much, but it was so crowded, and writers can only vote for 10. It wasn’t as bad
as it could have been, but it’s never pleasant to go down in percentage. So we’ll see.”
Three players were elected: pitchers Greg Maddux (97.2 percent) and Tom Glavine (91.9), and first baseman/designated hitter Frank Thomas (83.7). Maddux and Glavine were longtime teammates in Atlanta. Thomas spent 16 of his 19 major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox.
The voting panel consists of journalists with at least 10 years of active membership in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Maddux admitted “it’s exciting for me to go in with my teammate,” while Glavine pointed to the inclusion of longtime Braves manager Bobby Cox in the class that will be inducted July 27 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
“It’s fitting,” Glavine said, “given the influence those two guys had on my career.”
Cox was elected last month along with managers Tony La Russa and Joe Torre by the Expansion Era Committee. The Hall of Fame has three committees, which examine different eras, that consider candidates bypassed or not eligible for the yearly process.
Martinez’s support slipped sharply after never polling less than 32.9 percent in four previous years. Players remain eligible for a maximum of 15 years if they continue to receive at least 5 percent of the vote.
With 74.8 percent, second baseman Craig Biggio fell two votes shy of the 429 required for election. Pitcher Jack Morris finished with 61.5 percent (351 votes) in his 15th and final appearance on the ballot.
Morris will be eligible for consideration by the Expansion Era Committee in 2016.
It is perhaps telling, in the ongoing debate regarding players linked to performance-enhancing drugs, that support dipped for pitcher Roger Clemens and outfielder Barry Bonds.
Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young winner, dropped from 37.6 percent to 35.4 percent. Bonds, a seven-time Most Valuable Player, fell from 36.2 percent to 34.7 percent.
Thomas said players who cheated shouldn’t be elected.
“As for what they did,” he said, “I don’t think any of us will ever really know. But I can just tell you, what I did was real, and that’s why I’ve got this smile on my face right now because the writers, they definitely got it right.”
Martinez, Biggio, Clemens and Bonds will be joined on next year’s ballot along with 13 other players cited by at least 5 percent of the voters. Fifteen players failed to reach that threshold, including former Mariner Richie Sexson.email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @TNT_Mariners