Houston Astros outfielder Lance Berkman has a bone to pick with Hall of Fame voters, and it’s not going to make Seattle Mariners fans happy. Berkman isn’t sure why he fell off the Hall of Fame ballot while Edgar Martinez made it to Cooperstown.
Berkman told Fox reporter Mark Berman there’s “something off” about the disparity in voting when he and Martinez “virtually had the same career.”
Lance Berkman on falling off the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot after only one year: "It's hard to figure that a guy in Edgar Martinez, who had a great career, gets 85% of the vote and I virtually had the same career and I get less than 5%. There's something off about that." pic.twitter.com/HvuHeTotKV
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) February 5, 2019
In his first year of eligibility, Berkman received just five votes for the Hall of Fame. That put him at 1.2 percent. Five percent is the minimum a candidate needs in order to remain on the ballot.
It took Martinez until his final try to make the Hall of Fame. Martinez received 85.4 percent of the vote in his 10th year of eligibility. Players need to receive 75 percent of the vote to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Martinez’s candidacy was helped with time. He debuted on the ballot with 36.2 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility, and saw that total climb steadily until he was inducted. Berkman won’t have that opportunity.
Should that be the case? Berkman’s claim that he and Martinez put up similar numbers isn’t completely farfetched.
A quick view of those stats confirm both players were pretty similar, though Martinez has an edge in fWAR. He also has a slight edge in wRC+, which is adjusted for era. Longevity must be considered too. Martinez was dinged for starting his career late, but still managed to play more than Berkman.
Ultimately, Berkman dropping off the ballot may have more to do with the names that were on the ballot. Depending on how a voter feels about suspected steroid users, there was a case for more than 10 players on this year’s ballot. Berkman wasn’t a strong candidate for the Hall, so he was an easy cut for voters when things got tight.
Perhaps Berkman is right in suggesting the gap between him and Martinez shouldn’t have been as extreme. In a different year, he might have gotten a closer look.
Even in that scenario, there’s a good chance Berkman would have dropped off the ballot eventually.
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