The wait ends Tuesday for Pedro Martinez. That’s when the doors to the Hall of Fame will swing open for one of baseball’s greatest pitchers.
The announcement will come just after 2 p.m. Martinez will be in Boston for what all expect will be a congratulatory telephone call from Jack O’Connell, the secretary/treasurer of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Martinez has impeccable credentials. The righthander was 219-100 over parts of 18 seasons with an earned run average of 2.93. He is third all-time with 10.04 strikeouts per nine innings and a three-time Cy Young Award winner.
Martinez spent seven seasons with the Red Sox, going 117-37 with an astonishing 2.52 ERA facing a variety of chemically enhanced hitters at the height of baseball’s Steroid Era.
In an interview last month, Martinez said he did not take his election for granted.
“I hope the writers do not make a mistake,” he said. “I’m just trying to enjoy everything.”
The Baseball Think Factory web site has been tracking ballots revealed by voters — 172 of them as of Monday evening — and the poll shows Randy Johnson (98.8 percent), Martinez (97.7 percent), John Smoltz (87.8 percent), Craig Biggio (83.1 percent), and Mike Piazza (76.2 percent) getting the most support.
A second poll conducted by Ryan Thibs of bbhoftracker.com accounted for 166 ballots and had Martinez at 98.19 percent. The actual percentage is likely to be lower based on polls in previous years, but it’s certain Martinez will be an overwhelming pick.
No player has ever been a unanimous choice. The closest was Tom Seaver, who received 98.8 percent in 1992.
The BBWAA has not elected four players since 1955 when Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Ted Lyons, and Dazzy Vance were voted in. Only in 1936, the Hall’s inaugural class, were five players selected.
Three players — Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and Frank Thomas — were elected last season. If three or more players get in this season, it would be the first time since 1954-55 that six or more players were selected to the Hall over a span of two years.
So far, the only voters who have publicly admitted not voting for Martinez are Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press and Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News.
Berardino did not vote for Martinez and Johnson under the assumption that they would reach 75 percent regardless. He instead used those two votes to give more support to Alan Trammell and Larry Walker.
Gosselin, via email, said he withheld his vote from Martinez because he is “judicious” with players on the ballot for the first time.
“Not all Hall of Famers are created equally in my eyes. A select few are deserving of that first ballot honor. I vote on the Pro Football Hall of Fame as well and I’m just as judicious there,” Gosselin wrote. “I don’t vote for many first-ballot candidates. It doesn’t mean I don’t think they are Hall of Famers. This is a selection process — not an all-or-nothing vote on one player, one year. I’m just very select with those I vote on the first ballot. I reserve those votes for the extraordinary.
“Randy Johnson with his 300 wins and five Cy Youngs was a first ballot in my eyes. Pedro is certainly deserving of the Hall of Fame, but not in my eyes on the first ballot.”
Gosselin also voted for Smoltz, however. He said he was impressed that Smoltz was successful as both a starter and a closer.
“I thought what Smoltz did was extraordinary,” wrote Gosselin, a general sports columnist who retained his baseball vote based on the rules of the Hall of Fame.
Smoltz started eight games for the Red Sox in 2009, his final season. There are seven others players on the ballot with ties to the Sox.
The most prominent among them is righthander Curt Schilling, on the ballot for the third year. He received 38.8 percent in 2013 then fell to 29.2 percent last year when the ballot became crowded. He was at 51 percent in the Thibs poll.
Roger Clemens was at 35.4 percent last season and should go up based on the votes so far. But his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs make Clemens a long shot to gain enshrinement any time soon.
Other former Red Sox players on the ballot include Tony Clark, Cliff Floyd, Nomar Garciaparra, Tom Gordon, and Lee Smith.