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Edgar Martinez Is NOT a Hall of Famer

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Edgar Martinez

The votes have been cast, and the envelopes mailed out. There’s no going back now.

Soon we will all know the results of this year’s election into Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Given the attention the ballots have garnered in recent years, this is sure to be a polarizing reveal.

Some players will get in, most will not. And there will be significant outrage on both sides, for players who are elected, and for those who are left out in the cold.

So, without further delay, let the outrage begin.

Edgar Martinez does NOT belong in the Hall of Fame.

After studying the statistics, and reading the accounts of those who watched him play and those who played against him, I sill come away unconvinced that Edgar Martinez is one of the greatest baseball players to ever take the field.

Because that’s what the Hall of Fame is for, the best of the best, the greatest to ever play. It’s not for players who excel, even significantly, at one aspect without revolutionizing the game.

It is not for players who shine brightly for a short time and then disappear.  Unless, of course, their time in the spotlight is so dominant their longevity doesn’t matter.

It is why Sandy Koufax is a revered inner-circle Hall of Famer, and Johan Santana never will be.  It is why even if Clayton Kershaw never throws another pitch he’s a first-ballot lock for the Hall of Fame.

And position players face an even steeper climb for Cooperstown.

Mike Trout has had what many consider to be the best start to a career for any player, and yet he would have difficulty getting elected if his career ended today.  He’d likely get in, but not of the first ballot.

And with Trout we are talking about a player who has the potential to go down as one of the top five players in history, not just a very good hitter in an era of offensive explosion.

Edgar Martinez is not that, not even in the conversation.

He was a terrific hitter, one of the best of his era, and may have changed how the Designated Hitter position is viewed.  Or at least he brought its worthiness more mainstream.

But that doesn’t make him a Hall of Famer.

Nor does his .300+/.400+/.500+ slash line that has only been achieved by a small percentage of players, and only bettered by a very select few.

With modern statistics there are many ways of measuring player value, not just what they do with the bat.  Defense and base-running are also highly valued, and Martinez gave nothing on defense and very little on the bases.

A DH Needs To DOMINATE For Election

Was Edgar Martinez’s prowess with the bat so enormous that it should overcome his shortcomings?

Well, let me pose it this way…are two hits (low-leverage, no-impact mid-game singles) and one walk per month enough of a difference to justify the shortcomings in the field and as a base-runner?

If it’s not, why then does Scott Rolen not garner as much Hall of Fame-attention as Edgar Martinez?

Their career numbers are eerily similar.

They played practically the same amount of games, have almost equal number of plate appearances, extra base hits, home runs, runs scored, etc.

The difference between is that Martinez reached based roughly 17 times (12 singles, 5 walks) more per year than Rolen did.

However, Scott Rolen was also one of the best defensive third baseman who ever played, earning eight Gold Gloves in his career.  The base-running metrics also grade him far better as well.

He also edges out Martinez in career WAR (70.1 to 65.5 according to Fangraphs).

Fangraphs calculates a player’s overall value, offensively and defensively.

Martinez was valued at 500.8 from an offensive standpoint, and -133.5 defensively.

Rolen, less imposing offensively (256.2) more than made up for it with his glove (182.2), giving him a 71.1 higher overall value than Martinez.

Scott Rolen was a better all-around player than Edgar

Scott Rolen

(Jonathan Daniel, SBNation)

Martinez, but very few are clamoring for his induction into Cooperstown they way they are Martinez’s.

 

It leads one to believe that Martinez only generates so much attention because he was just a DH, and there is a need to prove it’s a Hall of Fame-worthy position.

Not playing half the game shouldn’t be criteria enough to enter baseball’s most sacred institution.

In any case, Edgar Martinez is likely to receive a plaque in Cooperstown, but he’s still not a deserving Hall of Famer.

 

Hey all, what's up? My name's Tom. I'm a New Hampshire transplant from Philadelphia, which makes me a die-hard Philly sports fan...Phillies & Eagles mostly. I love debating about sports, and there's nothing better than a good argument...especially when I'm right!

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Spencer Jones

    February 17, 2018 at 2:36 am

    How do you say they are similar offensive players and then show a fangraph stat where Edgar is almost 2x as good offensively?

    “It leads one to believe that Martinez only generates so much attention because he was just a DH, and there is a need to prove it’s a Hall of Fame-worthy position” Yeah he wouldn’t get the attention if he wasn’t a DH because he would be an obvious HOFer if he wasn’t.

    Also, you had Edgar’s WAR wrong. It’s 68.3, not 65.5 (baseball reference). So, it is less than 2 WAR below Rolen, even though Rolen was, according to you, “one of the best defensive 3rd basemen to ever play”. Yet, you still think their career numbers are similar.

    I definitely have a bias towards Edgar, but a Rolen comparison doesn’t make a lot of sense as to why he shouldn’t be in Cooperstown. Edgar’s OBP ranks closer to players like Barry Bonds, Lou Gehrig, and Babe Ruth than it does to Rolen.

    “It is not for players who shine brightly for a short time and then disappear” is a line that shouldn’t show up in an argument as to why an 18 yr. vet shouldn’t get HOF recognition.

    Looking at Edgar’s stats, I have trouble understanding how people deem his career unworthy of the Hall. Trout has had an electric start to his career, as you mentioned, but his OBP still doesn’t match Edgar’s, and he did it for nearly 2 decades. I understand arguments that try to show players have missed out on the HOF who are comparable to Martinez, mainly due to the questionable selection process, but suggesting “he’s not a deserving Hall of Famer” is just absurd.

    If relief pitchers can get a spot in Cooperstown, then the namesake for the DH award should be a no-brainer.

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MLB

Flyers Remove Statue of Kate Smith

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The Philadelphia Flyers have joined the New York Yankees in the removal of ties to singer Kate Smith, whose famous rendition of “God Bless America” was played at both Flyers and Yankees games.

Earlier this week, the Yankees decided to suspend the use of Smith’s rendition, which was played during the seventh-inning stretch, while they investigated allegations of racism against the later singer.

According to a report from the New York Daily News, there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” which
originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals” and was considered satire but includes racist language, including the line;
“Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”

The song was recorded by Smith and Paul Robeson, who was black.

The Flyers put out the following statement on Sunday (h/t ESPN):

“The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with ‘God Bless America,’ as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation.

“But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes.”

Smith, who was popular during the WWII era, recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among various other treats. 

Smith also endorsed the “Mammy Doll” back in 1939 which was based on a racist caricature of a black woman similar to Aunt Jemima.


“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a club spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”

The odds aren’t good that Smith’s songs will return to their prominent places during sporting events such as they were with the Yankees and the Flyers.

There is a lot of cleaning up to do when it comes to racism in sports, and weeding out songs attached to artists with questionable, and controversial, backgrounds such as Smith’s, is important in pushing forward towards the future.

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Chicago Cubs

MLB Investigating Racist Social Media Messages Sent to Cubs’ Carl Edwards Jr.

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Major League Baseball is investigating racial messages sent, via social media, to Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. prior to his demotion to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs back on April 6th.

According to The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, the messages have caught the attention of both the Cubs and the MLB Players Association, leading to the launch of the investigation.

Mooney had been a solid bullpen option during the last few seasons, but had a nightmare start to the 2019 season posting a terrible 32.40 ERA in just 1.2 innings of work over four appearances.

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MLB

Carlos Zambrano Attempting Comeback, Signs with Indy Team

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Former MLB pitcher Carlos Zambrano is attempting a comeback and has signed with the American Association’s Chicago Dogs, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer.

Zambrano last pitched in the majors back in 2012 with the Miami Marlins, but earlier in his career he finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting in the National League three times as a member of the Chicago Cubs.

Zambrano started his comeback bid last fall when he took the mound for 7 starts in the Mexican League, pitching to the tune of a 5.18 ERA, and performing even worse during a short stint in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Given his recent lack of production, it is a longshot to believe that Zambrano will return to the MLB level, but stranger things have happened.

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