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Originally published January 6, 2010 at 1:11 PM | Page modified January 6, 2010 at 3:02 PM

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Edgar Martinez not surprised by Hall of Fame vote

Former Mariners DH Edgar Martinez said he didn't think he'd make it in his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Edgar Martinez didn't have any celebrations planned for today.

"I know better than that," he said with a laugh. "I didn't have my hopes too high."

The 2010 Hall of Fame class was announced at 11 a.m. today, and Martinez fell short in his first try. But he had prepared himself for that result, he said in a phone conversation this afternoon.

"I had a pretty good idea it wasn't going to happen the first time around," he said. "We'll see what happens in the next couple of years."

Martinez had a conference call this morning for his business, Branded Solutions in Kirkland. When he didn't get a call from Jack O'Connell, secretary treasurer of the Baseball Writers' Association of American and the man who informs Hall of Famers of their election, he knew his chances of making it to Cooperstown this year were minimal.

"I kind of knew more or less when they were going to make the announcement," he said. "So I turned on the TV and found out only Andre Dawson got it."

Martinez received 195 votes — 36.2 percent.

"I think as much argument as there has been about the DH — obviously, I would have loved to have gotten more votes the first time around, but I don't see it as a terrible thing," he said. "We'll see if I can increase some votes the next few years."

Dawson is an example of a player who had to wait his turn. This was his ninth time on the ballot as he rose from 45.3 percent of the vote in 2002, his first year, to 77.9 percent today.

"It's amazing it took him nine years with all those numbers," Martinez said. "He could do everything on the field."

The most agonizing totals today belonged to Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar, who missed election by five and eight votes, respectively.

"Oh, man — getting so close, I can only imagine," Martinez said. "It has to be a mixed feeling. You're pretty sure you're going to get in, but at the same time, it's like, come on."

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Alomar, like Martinez, is from Puerto Rico, and they were teammates a few seasons in winter ball. Martinez's voice mailbox has been full this week as he was bombarded by well wishes from fans and family in Puerto Rico.

"They're a little more passionate about this," Martinez said, chuckling.

As for falling short himself, Martinez said, "I was pretty prepared for that. For the last how many years, there's been arguments about the DH, and my low numbers. The whole time, I didn't feel realistic about my chances of making it. Obviously, there has been curiosity about what I'd get the first time around, but I was prepared for this."

Asked if he is now more or less confident that he will eventually make it to Cooperstown, based on his initial vote total, Martinez said, "It's very hard to say. I don't know if I can say I'll make it. I need to see next year, or the following year, how much improvement is there. But in the near term, this argument about the DH looks like it will be around awhile."

And Martinez's response to the seeming reluctance of voters to elect a DH?

"It's always been the same — a DH is like anybody else that contributes to a game. The DH does. The reliever does, and they get in the Hall of Fame. I think eventually, the DH is going to get more credit than they get right now."

Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or lstone@seattletimes.com. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/columnists

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