The Edgar for Hall of Fame Issue

I'm sure some of you have already seen Joe Posnanski's Hall of Fame Thoughts post, and his substantial praise for Edgar Martinez. Still, Posnanski expects Edgar to not get in: "He will not get voted in, and I suspect he will not come close to getting voted in. And I think he might be the best hitter (non-steroid/gambling division) to not make the Hall of Fame."

Posnanski brings up the fact of Edgar being one of few to achieve the .300/.400/.500 averages line, and ye olde obscure player in Seattle issue:

"Many people never realized or appreciated just how good a hitter Edgar Martinez was. He was out there on the West Coast, in Seattle, playing after people around the country went to sleep, after those East Coast newspaper deadlines. He never played in a World Series, and he was always overshadowed — by Griffey, by A-Rod, by Unit, by somebody."

He concludes with an early nomination of Edgar for the “Best Hitter Not In the Hall” title. There does seem to be a building lobbying campaign for Edgar (see here and here for two examples), and maybe he'll get in. Anyway, I'm not so interested in parsing the details and sorting through all sorts of stats to see whether a player deserves to be in the Hall, so I may not be the right guy to bring this up.

But I wonder if people think Edgar needs to be elected in the Hall to be recognized-see the Seattle obscurity issue raised above-or is that beside the point? Is it enough for Edgar to have hit "The Double" to keep MLB in Seattle and be enough of a local legend for the street along Safeco Field to be named after him? I lean toward the latter idea, basically because the Hall of Fame's such an arbitrary collection of inductees, and by nature it's an artificial honor contingent on various mysterious criteria.



And the only argument I can see for keeping Edgar Martinez out of the hall is his lack of a fielding position.  However, my own player rating methodology gives him essentially zero fielding value and still thinks he's greater than all but four third basemen in the game's history (Schmidt, Brett, Boggs and Mathews...that's it).  Can you have a career as relatively short as Edgar's was, not play a fielding position, and still be more valuable to your teams than (say) Brooks Robinson or Pie Traynor or Paul Molitor, or Chipper Jones?  I believe you can, yes.

Anonymous's picture

If you want to penalize a DH for not playing the field, then you're being hypocritical if you don't deduct points from all the HOF bats with terrible fielding.  A no-vote on a DH should mean a HECK-NO!-vote on anyone with a negative UZR (or whatever your metric of choice should happen to be)...


...that Chipper Jones...a similarly skilled hitter to the worst defensive third baseman of all time.  And will easily get into the HOF.  How is that fair to Martinez?

Anonymous's picture

Obviously I do care about Edgar as a HOFer a little, otherwise I wouldn't have written. I just doubt that he's wringing his hands over the upcoming vote: I'd hope he's satisfied with his career, and doesn't need to look for validation from a certain cluster of people deemed worthy to vote yea or nay on him. I think he also deserves extra credit in the voting for "The Double" and all the rest he did in '95, because that was an especially important time for the franchise.


Edgar is a happy man today...he runs a moderately success sports logo business, he's got a big family, he's got a street named after him...he's a hero in Seattle.  You can't ask for more in this lifetime...and Gar was never the greedy type.  He wasn't in it to self-aggrandize like Bonds or A-Rod.  He enjoyed hitting, loved his teammates, loved the game, loved winning, he wsa a fierce competitor...but he was not about trophies or plaques.


As more writers come to understand OPS as a stat in general currency, it ought to help Edgar a lot.
Taking out active players (since who knows where they'll end up), here is the list of RH all-time career leaders in OPS, per
1. Jimmie Foxx
2. Hank Greenberg
3, Rogers Hornsby
4. Mark McGwire (tainted, obviously)
5. Joe DiMaggio
6. Frank Thomas
7. Jeff Bagwell
8. Ralph Kiner
9. Willie Mays
10. Hack Wilson
11 (tie). Albert Belle
(tie). Edgar Martinez
Lower than that: Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Mike Schmidt, Harmon Killebrew, etc.
For the record, the active RH hitters likely to finish ahead of Edgar: Pujols, Manny, ARod and possibly Vlad.
Except for Belle, everybody is either in the HOF or going.

Anonymous's picture

Of your list of 12, only 3 (Dimaggio, Kiner, Mays) played the majority of their careers outside of the two offensive boom times (nominally the '30s and the '90s).
Edgar was a great hitter with a short career and no defensive value.  Edgar is better than many players in the Hall, but I would be surprised if he was ever the best elidgible player outside the Hall. 


... it was easier to dominate in the 1930's than recently.  Edgar was one of the top 10 hitters since the Viet Nam war, one of the top 3-4 hitters of the 1990's.
You treat his defense as though he were a terrible first baseman, and then you evaluate, and you see that he's Hall of Fame caliber.
Per OPS+ Edgar is the 47th-best hitter of all time, there being what, 150, 200 hitters in the HOF.  His OPS+ is exactly the same as Schmidt's and McCovey's.
In my view, Edgar's minor problem is that he hit doubles, and drew walks, as opposed to hitting for high AVG's and HR totals.   His major problem is that sportswriters will be wanting to make a statement regarding the DH rule.
If he weren't such a nice guy, playing in one (1) uniform, his chances would be nil.  Because he's so likeable, he's got a shot.

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