Martinez was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday, earning 91.1 percent of votes from the assembled voters. Still, despite that seemingly high number, 49 ballots didn’t include Martinez’s name.
Cleveland Plain Dealer writer Paul Hoynes didn’t vote for Martinez. That’s in large part because he inexplicably lost his ballot and didn’t realize it was lost until it was too late. As if that carelessness wasn’t enough to question his voting laurels, here’s another: Hoynes thought about leaving Martinez off his ballot if he actually voted.
The reason for that? Hoynes says he thought Martinez was a “punk on the mound.”
Hoynes recalls one time Martinez threw at Indians catcher Einar Diaz, adding he saw Martinez “hide behind hitting coach Jim Rice in the dugout when the benches cleared. Then he ran up the runway.”
The writer also mentioned the infamous Game 3 of the 2003 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees. Martinez was villainized for throwing Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer on the ground.
In addition, Hoynes seems upset that Martinez was so darn good against the Indians.
“Since we’re having a come to Jesus moment here,” Hoynes wrote, “I have to say those weren’t the only reasons Martinez irritated me. He quite simply dominated the Indians.”
One of Martinez’s most memorable moments came in 1999 when worked six innings of no-hit relief against the Tribe in the deciding Game 5 of the American League Division Series.
It wasn’t until the Indians flirted with signing Martinez in 2009 that Hoynes says he started to come around on the ace pitcher — not until after a conversation with then-Indians general manager Mark Shapiro.
This story has a happy ending, though. Hoyne admits “emotion had gotten in my way” and says he actually would have voted for Martinez.
Now, if only he could have figured out where the stupid ballot was.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports