By The Times
The Times 

Edgar Martinez Final Year on HOF ballot


January 10, 2019

Editor's Note: The Times would like to welcome Waitsburg resident and sports enthusiast, Eric Umphrey, as our new sports writer. Eric was out of town this week, but will be covering local sports beginning with our next issue. He will also share occasional thoughts and insights on sports items of general interest beyond the Burg.

On January 22nd the results of baseballs 2019 Hall of Fame vote will be announced. Of interest to Mariners fans is whether Edgar Martinez will have the necessary 75% of the vote needed for election. This is his 10th and final year of eligibility. When Edgar retired the rules at that time gave a player fifteen years to get in as long as they received at least 5% of the vote. These rules were changed in 2014 to drop eligibility to ten years. As soon as the change was announced many thought this could have an effect on Edgar's chances of getting elected since at that time he only received 25% of the vote.

In 2001 an event at the all star game FanFest in Seattle included a contest to beat Edgar's time running to first base. His time was considered below average for a major leaguer and during his career he was seen as a slow runner. This was due to a knee injury he suffered in April of 1993. Before the injury In 1992 he actually stole 14 bases for the Mariners. After the knee injury he spent most of his career as a designated hitter. People of all ages tried to beat the time but no one did in the time I attended. People tend to forget that an elite athlete with an injury that didn't heal 100% is still much faster than the rest of us.

Something I didn't learn about Edgar until after his career with the Mariners ended has to do with his vision issue. He has an eye condition called strabismus that was diagnosed when he was still in the minor leagues. This is a condition that prevents both eyes from moving together when looking at an object. At times his right eye would drift off giving him only use of his left. When this occurred he had difficulty with his depth perception and lost the ability to see changes in pitch velocity. In an attempt to reduce how often this condition would occur, he would do 30 minutes of eye exercises in addition to his workout routine.

Last year Edgar fell 20 votes short getting 70.4% of the vote. Over the course of the last ten years a few things have changed in his favor. #1 – No player has ever not made it in the next year after crossing the 70% threshold. #2 – The statistics used to measure player performance have expanded and evolved beyond just total hits, home runs, and runs batted in. He measures up very well in these newer statistics such as Wins Above Replacement (WAR). 3# - He is tracking ahead of last years pace. In recent years some sportswriters have been publicly releasing ballots so we can see who they voted for. As of this writing Edgar is on 90.3% of the public ballots and is already ahead +14 votes with a little more than one-third of the total vote in. If elected Edgar will be the only Mariner in the baseball Hall of Fame to play his entire career with the Mariners.


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