Edgar Martinez – A Case For The Hall of Fame

Edgar Martinez

I am a little ticked off at the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).

For the sixth time, the BBWAA has failed to get one of the best hitters ever to play the game elected to where he belongs.

Apparently, there are two major issues that are working against Martinez:

1.  Martinez, for most of his 18 year career, served as the best designated hitter ever to play the game.  Never mind the fact that since 1972, the American League requires a player to be a designated hitter.  Martinez is being penalized due to a requirement of the rules.

2.  That the BBWAA is going to submit a player purely as a hitter, in a time where offense is seems to count for everything, that those hitting statistics should be stratospheric.  Martinez could always hit during his career but his defense is what held him back.  Edgar didn’t become the Mariners regular third baseman until he was 29 years old.  Perhaps Martinez should file an age discrimination suit against the BBWAA seems it appears they are holding that against him as well.

I went to Baseball Reference web site and got all of the statistics for the current Hall of Fame members.  I took out any non-players and pitchers and ended up with 171 players to compare Edgars stats with.  I am also going to use Frank Thomas and David Ortiz, 2 players who are recognized for DH accomplishments than there defensive prowess.

Average:  Edgar’s .312 batting average puts him 61st among the members of the Hall, tying him with Hughie Jennings, Johnny Mize, Joe Sewell and Deacon White.  At.312, he is just above Freddie Lindstrom, Jackie Robinson and Luke Appling.  Frank Thomas, who played more games as a DH than at first, got into the Hall with a .301 average is ranked 83rd.  David Ortiz, also a player with more at-bats at DH comes in at .283 which would put him 120th in ranking.

On Base Percentage:  Frank Thomas, at .419 edged Edgar by .001 and is 14th among HOF players with Edgar right behind him at 15 coming in at .418.  Ortiz comes in at 75 with .377 OPB.

Slugging Percentage:  Edgar is in the top 30 among Hall of Fame Players at 28 with a .515, tied with the great Willie McCovey and just ahead of Ty Cobb, Eddie Matthews and Harmon Killebrew.  David Ortiz comes in at 17 with a .543 and Frank Thomas in at 12th with .555 slugging percentage.  Very comparable stats.

Hits:  Edgar’s 2,247 hits puts him 92nd among the Hall of Fame players, in the company of Brooks Robinson, Willie McCovey, Joe Medwick and Willie Stargell.  He ranks 2nd among Frank Thomas (65th with 2,468 hits) and David Ortiz comes in at 93 with 2,241 hits though by the time Ortiz quits playing, he will have added more to that total.

Doubles:  A staple of Edgar’s hitting prowess, he comes in at 31 among Hall of Fame players, ahead of Ricky Henderson, Babe Ruth, Tony Perez and Roberto Alomar.  He is second to David Ortiz who is 17th with 564 doubles.  Frank Thomas?  At number 40 among HOF players, Thomas hit 495 doubles.

Home Runs:  With 309 career home runs, Edgar is ranked at 41 in the Hall, keeping company with Hank Greenberg, Gary Carter, George Brett and Rogers Hornsby.  David Ortiz is currently ranked 18th with 486 home runs and Frank Thomas is at number 11 with 521.

I could go on and on but the fact of the matter is Edgar Martinez deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.  One more stat (and this is my own) that I can throw out there.  I did an average of all the statistical information available and assigned and Edgar scored 1,097 ranking him 96th among Hall of Fame Players.  Better than 77 players currently in the Hall of Fame.

And what of the American League naming the Designated Hitter Award after he won the damn thing five times?  That’s right, the winner for being the best designated hitter in the American League gets the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award.

Among his other awards:

  • Five time winner of the Silver Slugger Award
  • Three American League OPB awards
  • Two American League Batting Titles
  • Named seven times as an American League All Star

He is one of only eight players to have 300 home runs, 500 doubles, career batting average above .300, a career OBP above .400 and a career slugging percentage above .500.  Five of those eight players are in the Hall of Fame.

Edgar had a seven year stretch of dominating offensive play.  During that time:

  • Batted at least .325
  • OBP of at least .440
  • Slugging percentage of at least .570
  • Hit at least 250 doubles
  • Played in 1,000 games

Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams, both in the Hall, are the only players to match that level of offensive output.

He is also on of six players to hit at least .320 for six straight seasons.  The others are Stan Musial, Wade Boggs, Rod Carew, Tony Gwynn and Todd Helton (Not in the Hall).

Not sure what Edgar needed to do besides get to the major league level sooner than 29 and play a position.  But the Hall of Fame requirements appears to look at offensive numbers more than anything to get in.  Really, the only player that was elected because of his glove was Ozzie Smith.  I know, Brooks Robinson was a vacuum cleaner at 3rd base and Willie Mays was the best centerfielder to ever live.  But look at Reggie Jackson…he was never known for his defense but those deficiencies were overlooked because he could hit for power and do so in some very clutch situations.  Ted Williams hated to play defense…all he wanted to do was hit.  Would have been the perfect DH if he could have played when it was a rule.

It appears to me that the BBWAA will overlook defensive deficiencies if a player had outstanding numbers.  Edgar has those numbers and yet they toss in that because he didn’t play defense, the numbers he has are a little inflated.

BBWAA, you can’t have it both ways.  Do the right thing and elect Edgar into the Hall of Fame.  You couldn’t have a better person representing baseball.

 

 

 

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