Seattle Mariners legend Edgar Martimnez was voted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame Tuesday in his last year of eligibility from baseball writers' voting.
Martinez, who entered the Mariners Hall of Fame in 2007, is known for The Double, his extra-innings hit in the 1995 American League Division Series that beat the Yankees. A day before, Martinez hit two home runs -- including an eighth-inning grand slam -- and had seven RBIs in a must-win game.
Less than a month earlier, Seattle voters rejected a sales tax increase for Safeco Field, and many fans expected baseball to leave Seattle. After Edgar's double and the Mariners' win, legislators called a special session to find funding for Safeco Field.
Martinez earned 85.4 percent of the vote, and needed at least 75 percent. Flights from Seattle to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York started at $299 shortly after the announcement. Cooperstown, home to the Hall of Fame, is nearly 200 miles north.
Martinez received 36.2 percent support in his first ballot appearance in 2010, well short of the 75 percent needed. He rose from 27 percent in 2015 to 43.4 percent the following year, to 58.6 percent in 2017 to 70.4 percent last year, when he fell 20 votes shy of the 317 needed.
"We are trending up, next year may be the year," he tweeted after the 2018 vote.
Martinez hit .312 with 309 home runs in 18 seasons with Seattle, like Rivera spending his entire career with one organization. He was tracking at 89.9 percent support this year; players' final totals usually drop by 5-7 percent from the vote-tracker.
Martinez would join 2014 inductee Frank Thomas as the only players in the Hall who played a majority of their games as a designated hitter. David Ortiz is likely to make it three when he becomes eligible in 2022.
Six players were inducted last year, included four voted in by writers — one shy of the record set in the first year of balloting in 1936.
Pitcher Lee Smith and designated hitter/outfielder Harold Baines were elected last month by the Today's Game Era Committee and will be inducted on July 21. Rivera and Smith will increase relievers at Cooperstown by 33 percent to eight, joining Hoyt Wilhelm (1985), Rollie Fingers (1992), Dennis Eckersley (2004), Bruce Sutter (2006), Rich Gossage (2008) and Hoffman.
Including Smith and Baines, 25 people have been voted in since 2014.
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