(Edgar Martinez makes a presentation to Ichiro at the home opener in 2011. Seattle Times photo).
I just got off the phone with Edgar Martinez, who had mixed feelings about his latest Hall of Fame vote total. He inched up to 36.5 percent after dropping to 32.9 percent last year. Martinez had received 36.2 percent of the vote in 2010, his first time on the ballot.
“It’s better than last year,” he said. “I moved up a little bit. That’s basically what I wanted to see. I wanted to see a bigger percentage, but it’s positive I moved up a little bit and not the other way.”
Martinez said “he doesn’t know what to think” about his chances of eventually making it to Cooperstown. He has 15 years on the ballot to receive the necessary 75 percent from the Baseball Writers Association of America, so that leaves 12 more years to try to move up.
“What I understand is it’s going to take a long time,” he said. “With my case, being a DH, there’s still a lot of arguments about whether I deserve to be in or not. I don’t know what to think because of the DH issue. If I played a lot of third base or first base in my career, I’d say I have a good hope of eventually getting in. But there’s so much of an argument about DH I don’t know what to think.”
So I asked Edgar (as he’s been asked a few million times, probably a few thousand of them by me) how he would respond to the DH argument. Here was his reply: “I think the DH contributes to the team in a big way, like relievers contribute to the team. The DH is in the lineup daily; a reliever or pitcher is not in the lineup every day. I understand the argument from some of the writers about the DH, but hopefully, eventually, people will get more comfortable with the idea that the DH is part of the team and deserves to be in. I guess that remains to be seen.”
So Martinez is prepared to be patient, mainly because he understands he has no other choice.
“I can’t do anything about it. I have no control. So I’ll just wait and see.”
Finally, I asked him about the onslaught of huge names coming to the ballot in the next three years, starting with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling next year, followed by Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas and Mike Mussina in 2014, and Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, John Smoltz and Gary Sheffield in 2015.
“These guys have amazing numbers in their career,” Martinez said. “I don’t know how it will affect me, if a lot of my votes go to them. It will be interesting to see the results the next three years. The players that are coming the next few years have amazing career and amazing numbers.”