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Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina joined by Mariano Rivera & others on 2019 Hall of Fame ballot

Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay among strong first-timers next year

Mike Mussina
Mike Mussina won 270 games in 18 seasons and finished in the top six of Cy Young voting seven times.

The 2018 Hall of Fame class will be a robust one, with four players elected to Cooperstown on Wednesday. It also set the stage for another potentially strong class next year.

Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, and Trevor Hoffman all received the 75 percent necessary for Hall of Fame status, but the next two have reason to be hopeful for 2019. Edgar Martinez got 70.4 percent of the vote this year, falling 20 votes short of enshrinement. But he also made a substantial jump from 58.6 percent last year, and with next year his final year on the Baseball Writers Association of America ballot he should get the bump he needs to get over the 75 percent mark.

In the history of the ballot, Martinez is the 28th player to gain 70 percent of the writers’ vote but not gain election in that year. Of the previous 27, 22 players were elected in the next year. The other five all made the Hall of Fame through the veterans committee.

The 70-percenters

Player Year Vote% Next year
Player Year Vote% Next year
Edgar Martinez 2018 70.4% tbd
Trevor Hoffman 2017 74.0% 79.9%
Vladimir Guerrero 2017 71.7% 92.9%
Jeff Bagwell 2016 71.6% 86.2%
Craig Biggio 2014 74.8% 82.7%
Bert Blyleven 2010 74.2% 79.7%
Roberto Alomar 2010 73.7% 90.0%
Jim Rice 2008 72.2% 76.4%
Goose Gossage 2007 71.2% 85.8%
Gary Carter 2002 72.7% 78.0%
Don Sutton 1997 73.2% 81.6%
Orlando Cepeda 1994 73.5% n/a*
Gaylord Perry 1990 72.1% 77.2%
Jim Bunning 1988 74.2% 63.3%^
Jim Bunning 1987 70.0% 74.2%
Billy Williams 1986 74.1% 85.7%
Nellie Fox 1985 74.7% n/a*
Hoyt Wilhelm 1984 72.0% 83.8%
Harmon Killebrew 1983 71.9% 83.1%
Juan Marichal 1982 73.5% 83.7%
Duke Snider 1979 71.3% 86.5%
Robin Roberts 1975 72.7% 86.9%
Roy Campanella 1968 72.4% 79.4%
Red Ruffing 1967 72.6% n/a*
Joe Medwick 1967 72.6% 84.8%
Bill Terry 1953 72.3% 77.4%
Paul Waner 1951 71.7% 83.3%
Pie Traynor 1947 73.9% 76.9%
Frank Chance 1945 71.3% 72.5%#
*Cepeda, Fox & Ruffing achieved 70% in their final year on the writers’ ballot ^Bunning’s final year on the ballot was 1991, and was elected by the Veterans Committee in 1996 | #Chance was voted in by the veterans committee in 1946

So it might take a while but Martinez will likely get into Cooperstown. Eventually.

“All I can think is that it’s looking good for next year,” Martinez said Wednesday. “It would have been great to get in this year, but it’s looking good for next year.”

Mike Mussina is gaining steam as well, increasing his vote total from 51.8 percent to 63.5 percent. He is just in his fifth year on the ballot, with five more years to make that final push.

The first-timers on the 2019 ballot are headlined Mariano Rivera, who is as much of a lock for Cooperstown induction as he was when on the mound closing out games for the New York Yankees throughout his career. Another strong case for first-ballot status is Roy Halladay, the two-time Cy Young Award winner and seven-time top-5 Cy Young finisher who tragically died in a plane crash in November.

Other notable additions to next year’s ballot include Andy Pettitte, who won 256 games and was a part of five Yankees World Series championship teams; switch-hitter Lance Berkman, who posted a 144 OPS+ in 15 years; and 2002 American League MVP a Miguel Tejada.

The four players elected in 2018 represent just the fifth time four or more players have been inducted into Cooperstown. In addition to the record five-member inaugural class of 1936, there are four players elected in 1947, 1955 and 2015 as well.

Should Martinez and Mussina make a big enough jump and join potential first-ballot players Pettitte and Halladay, the 2019 class could be a large one as well. Something to look forward to a year from now.