This quote is from http://www.ussmariner.com/
which is a very good blog about the Mariners. I think it pretty well sums up how I feel about the Edgar Hall of Fame question. One of the things I'd like to point out is that if Edgar played another 5 years at a below-average level, he might then have the magic numbers required for a Hall of Famer but he would have been a below-average player for those 5 years. How does that make him more Hall-worthy? Anyway, here's the post from USS Mariner:
Edgar Martinez. Hall of Fame. Five words that have inspired thousands more since the best designated hitter of all time announced that we only get to watch him do his thing for another two months. As every other local and national columnist weighs in, I've sat back and read. And read. And read some more. After two days of reading, one thing has become pretty apparent to me; one of the best hitters to ever play the game doesn't have a snowballs chance in hell of getting elected.
The best columnist in Seattle, Larry Stone, wrote about Edgar on Tuesday. Stone has a vote and says he will vote for Martinez. However, he called several other voters to ask their opinion and the news isn't good. Bastion of ignorance Phil Rogers, whose terrible work with the Chicago Tribune somehow landed him a job writing for ESPN.com, had the following to say:
"I think he has a much better chance to be one of those guys that falls off the ballot early than a guy that gets much support," said Phil Rogers, national baseball writer for the Chicago Tribune, who is solidly in the "no" category.
"He just came to the big leagues and became an elite hitter too late in his career, and didn't pile up enough career stats. To me, it's not the DH. I'd certainly vote for a DH. But I think Harold Baines has a better case than Edgar.
"I think he's popular in his region, and like a Kirby Puckett or a (Paul) Molitor, he probably deserves support for how he plays the game. I just don't think there's enough there for me to give it a second thought."
Rather than get into a long analysis of why the comparison of Baines to Martinez is like comparing Scott Rolen to Aubrey Huff, I'll suggest that if you're interested, you can do the reference yourself. Or, you can simply ask yourself this. If Edgar played the next six years and went 659 for 2,845 (a .231 average) with 84 homers (13 per year), would you be more impressed with his career? Because after doing that and hurting his team for half a decade, he'd have the same number of hits, at-bats, and home runs as Harold Baines. The difference between Baines and Martinez isn't longevity of success. Martinez could match Baines career performance by simply sticking around and being a terrible player for the next six seasons. And somehow, that would improve his stock in Phil Rogers' mind.
After reading Rogers' sentiment, and the fact that nearly everyone with a Hall of Fame vote agrees with him, I realized that I don't care. Sure, I'll be happy for Edgar if he's inducted, and I'm sure he'll consider it a great honor if there are more Larry Stones than Phil Rogers in five years when he comes up for election. But let's be honest; the hall of fame is voted on by people like Rogers who simply do not care to understand the game in a meaningful way. I have no interest in letting Phil Rogers ignorance do anything to alter my perception of the incredible career Edgar Martinez put together.
People will spend years discussing whether Edgar is a few hundred hits short, what might have occurred if the M's had called him up earlier, or the merits of a DH being enshrined in Cooperstown. In the end, though, the facts will be unchanged;
74th best career batting average of all time.
17th best on base percentage of all time.
52nd best slugging percentage of all time.
32nd best adjusted OPS of all time.
For 18 years, Edgar Martinez was one of the few best hitters this generation got to see. If 18 years of historic production isn't enough for Phil Rogers, then I don't care what Phil Rogers thinks. Edgar Martinez is a Hall of Famer whether the people who actually get to vote think so or not. Give him a bust and a speech. Or don't. It doesn't change the fact that Edgar Martinez is one of the greatest players of all time. He is what the hall of fame is all about. Thanks for the great run, 'Gar.
posted by David at 6:34 PM
Roger Angell: I was talking with Bob Gibson and I said: 'Are you always this competitive?' He said: 'Oh, I think so. I got a three-year old daughter, and I've played about 500 games of tic-tac-toe with her and she hasn't beat me yet.'