Edgar Martinez. A pro’s pro. A genuinely good man and someone who should have his place in the Hall of Fame.
Edgar Martinez played all 18 years of his career for the Seattle Mariners and played third base for the first part of his career. After that, he moved over to DH where he finished out as one of the best DH’s (or hitters) the game has seen in quite some time. He was such a good DH that they named an award after him before his career was over; the Edgar Martinez Award for best designated hitter.
Because the designated hitter is only apart of the game in the American League, there has been much speculation as to whether the DH should even be in the Hall of Fame. So that begs the question; should Edgar get into the Hall of Fame or not?
As a hitter, there wasn’t a more consistent one than Edgar. Throughout his career in Seattle, he had a .312 average, over 2200 hits, and an OPS of .933. These numbers don’t lie and it is just baffles me as to why he hasn’t been voted in. In addition to that, with a minimum amount of 7,000 PAs, Edgar ranks 14th on the all time list for OBP where he slots in at .418.
In an dirty era filled with scandal (steroids, PEDs, etc.) Edgar stayed clean. He did things the right way and it surely showed on the field. He was the recipient of the AL Batting title in 1992 and ’95, and even won his own award, the Edgar Martinez Award, 5 times (’95, ’97, 98’, ’00, and ’01). In addition, he is only one of ten players to have 300+ HRs, 500+ doubles, 1000 walks, .300+ average, and .400+ OBP. Just truly remarkable stats that stand out and make him one of the greatest hitters to come out of the 1990s.
Being in Seattle might have made it tough for him. But when it came down to it, he got the job done. In game 5 of the 1995 ALDS against the Yankees, he rang a double down the left field line that won the game for the Mariners and sent them on their way to the ALCS for the first time ever. It was made famous by the late great Dave Neihaus and his call. This wasn’t just a moment showing how clutch he was, but a moment that truly saved baseball in Seattle. There are two players who can be credited with saving baseball in Seattle, Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez.
Frank Thomas who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014 was very similar to Edgar. He wasn’t more than a liability on defense and probably should have been a DH. Thomas spent 42% of his career in the field while Martinez spent 27%. Not to say that 42% is greater, but it isn’t that much greater when it comes down to thousands of games played. If Thomas is going to be inducted and I’m sure David Ortiz will be too one day, than why not Edgar to boot? I’m not saying that Thomas shouldn’t have been inducted, but if he was then there needs to be more consistency in a case like this.
This year might be tough because the ballot is surely stacked with the likes of Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz. But sometime in the future you aren’t going to be able to tune out the numbers that Edgar put up and the voters need to realize that.
He was one of those once in a generation hitters that don’t come around that often. The comparison with Frank Thomas is an interesting one because they were very similar players and that’s why I question why he got in on the first ballot but Edgar may never reach Cooperstown. If a designated hitter can’t be in the Hall of Fame, then why should players who hurt their team with their glove be inducted. That needs to be a two way street.
When the 2015 inductees are announced I don’t expect his name to be there. But sometime in the future it should be because when it comes down to it, numbers never lie.
H/T to @MLBcathedrals and @AceballStats on Twitter for some stats.
Seattle sports fan and MLB writer for International Sports Hub