Edgar Martinez

Edgar Martinez

A couple weeks ago in their annual vote the “Baseball Writers Association of America” failed to vote any of those eligible on this year’s ballot into the Hall of Fame. One of those not voted in this year was our own Edgar Martinez, who for many years as a Seattle Mariner set the standard for designated hitters in the American League. It requires a 75% approval from the baseball writers who vote to get into the Hall. In Edgar’s first year of Hall eligibility (2010) he got 36% of the vote. In 2011 it went down to 33% and in 2012 rose to 36.5%. The vote just concluded wound up just under 36%, less than half the total he needs to be elected. For some reason the writers don’t seem willing to give Edgar his due. So I thought I would take a quick statistical look at Edgar relative to other Hall of Famers, just to get an idea of what these writers might be looking at. The results are illuminating.

Edgar Martinez had an 18 year Major League career, the bulk of it as DH (designated hitter) for the Seattle Mariners. Across the 18 seasons Edgar hit for a .312 batting average, had a career on base percentage (OBP) of .418, had 2247 hits, 309 home runs and 1,261 runs batted in (RBI). He also registered 2 American League batting titles (1992 and 1995). I checked Edgar’s stats against a random sampling of 9 other players already elected to the Hall of Fame. The players were Luis Aparicio, Richie Ashburn, Luke Appling, Roy Campanella, Tony Perez, Carlton Fisk, Lou Boudreau, Yogi Berra and Barry Larkin. You might be surprised when I tell you that Edgar’s career batting average AND career OBP are better than ANY of these already elected Hall of Famers. In addition Edgar has more hits than Berra, Campanella and Boudreau, more RBIs than Larkin, Boudreau, Appling, Ashburn, Campanella and Aparicio and more home runs than Aparicio, Ashburn, Appling, Campanella, Boudreau and Larkin. By hitting comparison alone with these already elected Hall of Famers, Edgar belongs in the Hall. Add to this that Edgar is widely recognized as the best Designated Hitter of his era, a fact even acknowledged by the American League (the National League does not employ the DH) by naming the annual award for the best DH the “Edgar Martinez Award”.

Since Edgar obviously has the hitting stats to qualify for the Hall it is reasonable to assume that the writers must be looking at something else in denying him entrance. We can eliminate steroids and performance enhancing drugs as a factor in the writers’ evaluation. Unlike others of his era (i.e. Rafael Palmiero, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens etc) there has never been a hint of a scandal with Edgar regarding the use of these substances. The guy was/is clean as a whistle. That really leaves only one thing that the writers could be looking at and that is the fact that Edgar was a DH the bulk of his career and therefore not also a position player on defense. All of the other players I mentioned above who are already in the Hall played defensive positions as well as offense. For some reason the writers seem to be holding this against Edgar.

They shouldn’t and here is why:

Edgar: The best DH in Major League history

Edgar: The best DH in Major League history

The DH has existed as a position on American League teams since 1973. This is by rule. Since it is a valid position why should the DH be considered as less Hall eligible than…say…a closer who comes in only to pitch the 9th inning? Several of these, like Dennis Eckersly and Rollie Fingers, are already in the Hall. The game of baseball has changed much over the last 50 years and is today increasingly a game of specialization. Today we have not only closers to pitch the 9th  inning but both right handed and left handed set up men whose whole job is to face one or two hitters in the late innings of a tight game. Today’s game is a game of specialization and the simple fact is that Edgar Martinez performed his specialized hat of DH better than anyone else ever has in the history of the game. Based on that alone he belongs in the Hall of Fame.

So…come on Baseball Writers Association of America…it’s not 1950 anymore! Wake up, come to present time and acknowledge the man who was the best ever at his position in the game. Vote Edgar Martinez into the Hall of Fame…he deserves it!

Copyright © 2013
By Mark Arnold
All Rights Reserved

 

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2 Responses to Edgar Martinez Deserves the Hall of Fame—by Mark Arnold

  1. Mark, it took the BBWA until 1985 to induct a relief pitcher into the HOF–12 years after Hoyt Wilhelm had retired. It may be a few years before they induct Edgar as the first DH.

  2. Mark Arnold says:

    Thanks Carl! You make a good point…just wish these guys were not so stodgy and fixed ideaish…if you know what I mean! L MA

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