Edgar figures to take a step back in Hall of Fame voting

Rangers v MarinersIt’s been widely assumed that Edgar Martinez’s Hall of Fame candidacy would take a hit this year in his fifth time on the ballot and early indications are that indeed will be true when voting on the 2014 ballot is announced Wednesday.

Baseballthinkfactory.org does a nice job of  tabulating votes that are released early by BBWAA writers — and its latest results show Martinez being named on 25.3 percent of the early ballots (with about 32 percent of the expected votes revealed).

If that number holds, it’s a pretty significant drop for Edgar, who was tabbed on 36.2 percent of the ballots in his first year of eligibility in 2010, 32.9 percent in 2011, 36.5 in ‘12 and 35.9 percent in ’13.

It doesn’t come as a big surprise, however, since the main question was how much Martinez would fall on a ballot crowded by two issues – no one received the required 75 percent for election last year, so pretty much that whole field is back, plus the arrival of first-time eligible stars Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Jeff Kent and Mike Mussina.

Maddux, Glavine and Thomas are pretty much sure-fire selections when the ballots are revealed Wednesday, with second-year eligible Craig Biggio also likely to crack the 75-percent barrier.

That’s good news for both baseball and Martinez, since it’ll clear up some of the logjam for writers who can only select up to 10 players on their ballots. But things don’t figure to get a lot easier next year when Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Gary Sheffield are among the new additions, with Ken Griffey Jr. and Trevor Hoffman to follow in 2016.

It won’t be impossible for Martinez to rally in coming years. Bert Blyleven, who was elected in 2011 in his 14th year on the ballot, received just 26.3 percent of the vote in his fifth year and then gradually worked his way up as voters looked more closely at his accomplishments.

Bruce Sutter, elected in his 13th year of eligibility in 2006, was at 31.1 percent after five years. Jack Morris, who is expected to come close this year in his 15th and final shot, has made the climb from 26.3 percent in his fifth year.

If you believe the early exit polling, Morris is going to come up short again on Wednesday. But we shall see. You can tune in to the MLB Network or watch online at MLB.com at 11 a.m. PT to see how things come out, or we’ll update here on the blog as soon as possible as well.

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