Who says the era of one team players is coming to an end? After Chipper Jones was elected last year, this year we see both Mariano Rivera and Edgar Martinez elected into the Hall of Fame. This was the final year that Edgar Martinez was set to be on the ballot, and he witnessed a dramatic shift in Hall thinking as just four years ago he received just 26% of the vote. The driving force behind that is that he played most of his career solely as a designated hitter.
This year he made it with 85.4% of the vote in a year that saw Mariano Rivera becoming the first player to be voted in unaminously as well as two other borderline players in Mike Mussina and Roy Halladay voted in. Not to mention Harold Baines and Lee Smith who were voted in by the controversial Today’s Game Committee.
Martinez was a great hitter who despite being well below the typical home run threshold of 500, has gained some Hall traction when looking at more advanced statistics. Also the fact that he played the game clean during a steroid era helps makes his case for not winning some MVP Awards when enhanced players might have stolen a few away from him.
He won 2 Batting Titles including 1995 when he hit .356 and finished 3rd in the MVP voting which would be his highest showing. There is no question that the man could hit. Is he the best Hall of Fame choice though?
I consider myself a “Small Hall” person – and by taking nothing away from the achievements of players like Mike Mussina and Alan Trammel – don’t believe many players that are getting in now should.
It is the Hall of Fame. Not the Hall of Really Good Players. It would not diminish their accomplishments because that can simply not be done. They accomplished them! Yet the Hall of Fame, which Giuseppe and I were able to visit last summer – has room in it for players like the ones we are talking about. Aaron Hill has two artifacts himself in the opening team lobby for feats he accomplished with two different teams. He is not a Hall of Fame player. Mike Mussina pitched very well for a long time like Harold Baines hit very well for a long time. Yet deserving a bronze bust and wall plague neighbors to Ted Williams and Greg Maddux? I think not.
In my mind – Martinez falls into this same camp. He had a career .312 average yes, but hit just 309 home runs. He did play 500+ games at 3rd base in addition to the 1500+ he played as a Designated Hitter, but I just do not buy the argument that being the best Designated Hitter makes him deserve enshrinement.
Yes – Mariano Rivera who was a closer just became the first person to get unanimous enshrinement, but I don’t believe Martinez being a great DH is an apt comparison. He was a very good hitter, and by all accounts he did it clean. Still – Dale Murphy was a great hitter who won two MVP Awards but I don’t believe he is a Hall of Fame player either.
It can be argued by comparison with some other positions that he dabbled in and where those players are in the Hall of Fame, and you can’t away that he led to one of the best Mariners moments of all time(below), but I want better statistics than what he brings to the table.
How can Edgar Martinez be in the Hall and not Fred McGriff?