SAN JUAN – Edgar Martinez and Bernie Williams head a group of four Puerto Ricans up for consideration in this year’s Major League Baseball Hall of Fame balloting, the results of which will be announced on Wednesday.
Martinez, who played his entire career for the Seattle Mariners, will be on the Hall of Fame ballot for the fourth time, while Williams – a member of the New York Yankees throughout his time in the big leagues – is making his second bid for baseball immortality.
Two other Puerto Ricans will be making their first appearance on a Hall of Fame ballot: Sandy Alomar, Jr., a former catcher who spent his most productive years with the Cleveland Indians; and Roberto Hernandez, an ex-relief pitcher who had a seven-year stint with the Chicago White Sox and then bounced around with nine other teams in his final 10 seasons.
Martinez, who was selected to the All-Star Game on seven occasions, received 36.5 percent of the vote from members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America last year, up from 32.9 percent in 2011.
A player must be approved by 75 percent of those casting ballots to be elected to Cooperstown.
The Mariners slugger’s chances are hurt by the fact he was a designated hitter in 1,412 of the 2,055 games he played, and indeed no player that played most of his career without a defensive position has ever made the Hall of Fame.
In 2004, Major League Baseball renamed the Outstanding Designated Hitter Award in Martinez’s honor. The former slugger won two American League batting titles, had a career .312 batting average and hit 309 career home runs.
Williams, for his part, garnered 9.6 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility. Hall of Fame rules state that players can remain on the ballot for up to 15 years as long as they receive at least 5 percent of the vote.
Williams patrolled center field for the Yankees for 16 seasons, won the batting title in 1998 and was a member of four World Series-winning teams between 1996 and 2000. He finished his career with a .297 batting average, 2,336 hits and 287 home runs, made five All-Star teams and won four Gold Gloves for his defense.
Alomar, meanwhile, is considered unlikely to receive the 5 percent of votes necessary to remain on the ballot despite the fact he was chosen to six All-Star Games, won the Rookie of the Year award in 1990 and the Gold Glove Award for his position that same year.
Hernandez, for his part, is 13th on the all-time saves list with 326.
Only three Puerto Ricans are in the Baseball Hall of Fame: Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda and Roberto Alomar, who was inducted into Cooperstown in 2011. EFE