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Discussion in 'Current Events' started by mcmav37, Jan 4, 2005.
What's the last year that no one was elected?
1960 according to this.
Looking at that, I think you see a pretty steep decline in quality starting around 1990 - there's not many names I'd argue elected before then, but plenty after.
As far as the voting process goes, 1996 saw no one elected through the regular process. Two players via the Veteran's Committee and two managers via whatever method they use for managers.
So, do you think Edgar will/should get in one day? He was undeniably the best DH in baseball for 10-12 years, with a career OBP of .418, AVG of .312, 9 seasons in the top ten in the league for OPS+...quoting an ESPN article, "Since 1901, among hitters with 7,000 plate appearances, Edgar has the 26th best lifetime OPS+. The players just above and below him are guys like Frank Robinson, Honus Wagner, Alex Rodriguez, Mike Schmidt, Willie Stargell and Willie McCovey."
Here's the source article, which I think makes a good case for 'Gar. (Bias alert--lifelong M's fan)
Also, the pro-Mattingly crowd would be logical backers of Edgar--both were the best in their field, but not for long enough to reach some of the typical plateau numbers.
Good question. Personally, I'm an NL guy, but I do accept that the DH is a part of the game. Personally, I think he's one of those borderline guys and if I go with my criteria, he doesn't get in. He's got the numbers, but his lack of defense hurts him. Plus, he only received MVP votes in 5 of his 18 seasons. That tells me that he wasn't a consistently dominant player.
A guy with similar numbers, but played his entire career as an OF is Moises Alou. I wouldn't consider Alou a candidate for the Hall.
Even if he played 3B his whole career, I don't think he's HOF material.
Now, do I think he'll make the HOF ... no, I don't think he will. I think Frank Thomas will be the first full-time DH to make it, so I think the voters will compare Martinez's numbers against Thomas', and there really is no comparison.
I think the only way it would happen is if other position players with similar numbers but poor defense get in before him. One thing that tends to happen is that some good players get in to the HOF and then they become part of the comparison for other players who were merely good and not great. There are many players from 100 years ago who were not great at all, but got in. (Joe Tinker is the poster boy for this, an average player at best who got in because of a famous poem.) But it means that people can say, "If Tinker is a HOFer and player X is better than Tinker, then X is a HOFer too." It doesn't always work, but it happens.
I always liked Edgar Martinez. He was a fine hitter, and in some seasons of his career you could argue that he was the most complete hitter in baseball. But he racked up his numbers in a juiced era, didn't play enough years to amass high career totals, and provided no value in the field. My feeling is that a DH has to be a historically great hitter for a number of years to convince me that his lack of fielding can be overlooked. On that score I think Edgar falls a bit short. But like I said, I can imagine him getting in if enough other mediocre HOFers pull the threshold down lower.
By the way, I'm not saying that McCovey, Stargell, or Schmidt are among those who have pulled the threshold lower. But Rodriguez and Schmidt are/were both multiple Gold Glovers. Rodriguez has also played in a juiced era. Frank Robinson hit almost 600 HRs when it really meant something, playing in a pitchers' era. And Honus Wagner was an all-time great hitter who excelled in the deadball era. He's one of the original HOFers, including Babe Ruth and Cy Young. You'd have a hard time convincing me that Wagner isn't the greatest shortstop of all time, no matter what OPS+ says.
I think Mattingly has a better case than Edgar. For several years, Mattingly was a truly dominant hitter, the one guy that opposing teams' fans didn't want to see come to the plate, and yet they didn't dare miss seeing him. Unlike Edgar, he was a stellar fielder. He and Keith Hernandez were far and away the best first basemen in their respective leagues in the 1980s. That counts for a lot.
I always really liked Mattingly (and maybe I better, because he may be the next Dodger manager, as weird as that sounds). I wish his back had let him play longer and at a higher level. But it didn't, so we'll never know if he might have done it.
Thanks for the thoughtful response
I have a hard time with the idea that Edgar's hitting isn't worthy on its own merits--see the following stats. The man didn't always hit home runs, but he was a hitting machine.
I thought he was a good player back in the day, but I think the odds of him getting in are slim to none.
300 HR and 1250 RBI just don't cut it, even with a .300+ BA.
This isn't the Hall-of-Seven-Great-Years-In-The-Late-90s-And-Early-00s it's the Hall of Fame.
If all you're looking at is RBI, HR, and BA, then yes, you'd be right--but you'd also be using a horribly incomplete picture of his performance. Take, for example, BA--you can have an empty .250BA and thus be a below league-average hitter despite having a decent BA--if your slugging and on-base numbers suck, then getting a hit once every four tries isn't much use. Conversely, RBIs isn't the be-all either--short of home runs, it requires circumstances out of control of the batter to put up good numbers. The single biggest number in Edgar's favor is his career .418 on-base percentage. (22nd all time) Think about that for a second. The guy simply didn't make outs. Also, a .993 career OPS is remarkable. He is one of only eight players with 300 homers, 500 doubles and career AVG/OBP/SLG .300/.400/.500 line. (312/418/515). Eight. So while Edgar wasn't the penultimate home run guy, he was one of the most complete hitters in the game, ever--period. Take a look at the subsection of the article I linked titled "His statistics aren't good enough" if you don't believe me.
Edgar was a very good player ... but he wasn't dominant for a long stretch. He had two or three great years, along with a bunch of very good years. That's not a HOFer .. to me.
The issue with Martinez is that he's gonna be compared with two of his contemporaries when it comes to HOF voting. Frank Thomas and Jim Thome. Both of which played the field more often than DHing. As good as Edgar's slash line is, Thomas' is better (301/419/555). Both Thomas and Thome are 500 HR guys which means a lot, especially since neither of these guys are linked to steroids.
BTW, Martinez's OPS is .933, which is still very good, it's just not .993
And I understand that HRs and RBIs aren't everything, they are extremely important to voters. Edgar just doesn't have enough of either. Plus his lack of MVP awards and lack of WS titles hurt. In his favor, he has 2 batting titles and an RBI title, but that's still not enough to overcome his lack of defense.
In the end, of the 3 big DH's in this era, I think Thomas is a 1st ballot HOFer, Thome makes it on his second chance. I really don't think Edgar makes it, unless it's a Veteran's Committee thing.
No argument that Edgar had a couple special standout years--but it's selling him short to suggest that the majority of his career wasn't brilliant. You don't get career OPS/OBP like his unless you tear the cover off the ball year after year.
Yes, Thome and Thomas had the HR numbers, and played the field more, which will win them more votes. I'm willing to concede that the HR numbers should help, but the fielding, not so much. The problem is that you should need to be a really -good- fielder for it to be in your benefit--otherwise, why does it really matter? Edgar didn't DH because he was a horrid defender--he DH'd because they had better defenders at the corners. At the end of the day, a player's overall contribution to the team is offense and defense--and unless you put up stellar plus defense, your overall contribution to the team might as well be provided mostly/all in your bat. League-average defense is easy to find. Not sure I'd argue that Thome or Thomas were standout defenders (could be wrong, never followed them closely in their prime...working off of memory here...and I presume you realize that fielding percentage alone won't give a useful picture of defensive value.*)
My bad on writing Gar's OPS--multitasking/dyslexia. Oops. Still a good number, but my mistake.
I don't doubt that Edgar's lack of MVP/Series titles will hurt his voting odds...not sure it really should (a player's individual talent can be out of this world, and Hall-deserving, regardless of if his team is good enough to go all the way...see Ichiro in 2004, for example...or Giambi in '01). Using awards that aren't stats-based to determine other awards seems like a poor argument to me...but it's the reality.
Once again, on the defense, unless you're a superb defender, who cares? It's the overall contribution that counts--and Edgar is right there with the other two on that front. If you don't even want to explore this, one can always fall back on the argument DH is a legitimate position, like it or not, and if you're the best at your position, that should be enough.
Assuming all three guys were clean, I'd say that Thomas and Edgar should be a lock--their slash lines are almost enough on their own, without looking any farther. Thome is a bit less certain, but likely gets in, too.
At the end of the day, I have no doubt that Edgar should get in...but I'm in agreement that whether or not he will is in question. Regardless, they did name the DH award after him for a reason
*Fielding is a combination of range and ability to make plays. Jeter is an excellent example of a questionable top-level defender--yes, he's incredibly good at making plays on the balls he gets to...but his range is lousy compared to many other SS. On the other end of the scale, it's an absolute travesty that Franklin Gutierrez didn't get a Gold Glove this year--and this is a totally Mariners-bias-independent argument. See the following articles proving the point:
Beyond the Boxscore
Neyer on ESPN
Wall Street Journal
(I could easily go on and on, but you get the idea)*
I understand your position on Edgar. I admit, he was a great player, but that's besides the point. (BTW, I am up on all of the latest SABR stats) And I do understand that Edgar wasn't a butcher at 3B ... but he was still a DH for 75% of his career because the M's had better options at 3B/1B. For a while, both Thome and Thomas were considered above average fielders (albeit, they were much more valuable with their bats).
There are two points that I want to make. Whether I think that Edgar should make the HOF, and whether I think he will make the HOF.
1. For me, I feel the HOF should be reserved for truly special players. These players consist of the milestone guys (500HR, 3000Hits, 300Wins, etc) OR guys that dominated for a good stretch (Pedro, Koufax, etc). To me, if you don't have the milestones (which Edgar doesn't), then you need to have dominated by racking up other credentials. To me, these credentials are stuff like WS Titles (where the player has positive contribution); Playoff heroics; MVP or Cy Young Awards; Stat Category Leaders (aka Black Ink); Gold Gloves (yeah I know ..); All-Star appearances; Single-Season records; etc.
For the record, Thomas and Thome get in because they are milestone guys, although I'm on the fence on Thome. Edgar didn't dominate enough or for a long enough duration. Two Batting Titles and one RBI title isn't enough when you consider his lack of MVP awards and WS titles.
This is my opinion based on what I think the HOF should be. There are lots of guys in the HOF that I don't think should be. Heck, look at this year's class ... no way I put Dawson in the HOF ... and Jim Rice shouldn't be either. Not enough dominance with either guys. Rickey is definately an HOFer.
2. My other point is whether Edgar will get in, based on today's standards. My thinking is that the writers are not willing to let too many DHs into the HOF. Edgar's problem is that there are two DH's that are gonna be eligible in the next 5 years or so. Both of these guys are milestone guys, and in Thomas' case, he dominated as well. No way the writers are gonna put 3 DH's into the HOF this quickly. These guys are old school and couldn't tell you the difference between UZR and USSR. Just look at the guys they're putting in ... Dawson??? Rice??? Hell, David Segui even got 1 vote this year.
The way I look at it, Edgar's only crime here is that he has to be considered with his peers ... and it's not good when his peers are Thomas and Thome. Honestly, this whole argument about DH's in the HOF would have been moot many years ago had Harold Baines gotten to 3,000 hits. They would have had to elect him into the HOF and the taint of DH wouldn't be dripping off of Edgar.
Anyways, this has been quite a good discussion. I realize that I won't change your mind on Edgar. Nor do I think I'm presenting the end-all be-all on the topic. Who knows, perhaps one day, the NL will adopt the DH and eventually DH's start making the Hall and Edgar will go in as a Veteran's selection.
I don't think either should be in. To me, if you can't say a person is without a doubt an HOFer, he shouldn't be there. Andre Dawson was a no-brainer as well as Alomar who I consider the best second baseman of his generation and one of the top 5 players (non-pitchers) in his prime.
Thanks for another good reply I don't really expect I'll win you over on Edgar, either--but regardless, yes, a fun discussion. Ultimately, I'm inclined to agree with you that the Hall should be reserved for the dominators and the milestones--and while I'm sure some of our disagreement on Edgar is simply due to where the line should be drawn, I'm also happy to admit that I've got a definite Edgar-bias.
We do entirely agree on the likes of Rice and Dawson, though...they don't belong. One final point, though I hate to use it, is that with the bar lowered to their level, it's pretty hard not to induct Edgar. Case in point: Edgar reached base 145 times more than Dawson did, but made 2,400 fewer outs. To paraphrase Keith Law, there's no reasonable way to argue for a guy like Dawson and not vote for 'Gar unless you either a) think Dawson is the be-all best-ever outfielder (hardly!), or b) don't understand/are ignoring the statistics. And yet, the Seattle Times beat writer did just that on his ballot
I hate the idea of lowering the bar to Dawson's level, and hope that it won't stay that low--but seing him get voted in on the same ballot that Edgar doesn't break 40% makes me sick.
Comparing Edgar to Dawson is pointless. Dawson hit .290 with power in the days when it actually meant something. Edgar was a monster but it was in the steroid era. I don't think he was involved and he is a no-doubt HOFer but everyone had great stats. Besides Tony Gwynn (best hitter since Rod Carew) and Griffey (in his prime) he was the best hitter of the 90s.
I'm not trying to typecast Dawson as the same sort of player as Edgar. However, when one player collected less hits while collecting over a season's worth more of outs (meaning if he played for 162 games and made an out every at bat), it does speak to their quality, especially when both players were heavily defined by their bats.
My take is that Dawson (and Rice) don't belong, and that Edgar is a borderline candidate who should make it. Your mileage may vary
The big difference between the points you're making for Martinez and the points ftaok's is making against him is that your points are generally things that Hall of Fame voters don't look at or care about while his are points that have a precedent in voting.
What it really boils down to is:
1. Longevity. Edgar doesn't have it.
2. Rings and/or Awards. Edgar doesn't have them.
He's not a Hall of Famer.
Would you put him in ahead of Albert Belle? He's got similar/better numbers than Martinez in nearly every offensive category, and did it in fewer seasons. Personally, I think neither belong.
Martinez is, in my mind, the perfect example of a player who belongs in their respective team's Hall of Fame (and he is in Seattle's already) but not the Baseball Hall of Fame. He's the exact type of player these "local" Hall of Fames are designed for.
Trust me, I see your point about the differences in the arguments he's making and I'm making--I'm not sure Edgar -will- make it in. When it's all said and done, the cursory stats that many voters use don't make the case for Edgar, and you're right, he didn't win many rings+awards. I still maintain that the rings and opinion-based awards shouldn't really matter (I freely admit that they do play in to the decision). A good player can't help it if the rest of his team isn't good enough to get to/win the World Series. Heck, look at Edgar's numbers in the 1995 ALDS--he was an absolute beast who destroyed NYY, plain and simple. Remove either him or Randy Johnson and there's no way the team even makes it to that playoff, let alone wins that matchup. Similarly, stats like Gold Gloves are total bunk--look up Franklin Gutierrez from this year if you don't believe me--they probably messed up at least two of the three outfield awards, if not all three in the AL this year. And that's before you even hit the really pathetic choices...
Anyways, I have to run, but will continue this later. Long and the short of it is, I'm not sure Edgar will make it, based on the evaluation techniques used by voters today. More to come later
Yeah, I think rings shouldn't come into play either since a lot of that isn't up to the player - they're at the mercy of being on a good team. I just think rings and awards are a Plan B category voters look at for players on the edge (and I think Martinez is one of those players).
I really think the discussion on him begins and ends with longevity. If he had played another 4 or 5 years, I think he's a no brainer. But he just isn't HOF worthy with his current stats. A lot of this is due to the fact the guy didn't get a break in the majors until his late 20s. If he had been in the majors at 21 or 22, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
Another name that came to mind while thinking about Edgar Martinez was Bernie Williams. He played around the same time, in the same league and was with one team his entire career. His offensive numbers are similar to Edgar's, but a little worse. The difference is rings and while I don't think Williams should be in the Hall, either, I would vote for him before I'd vote for Edgar.
Still curious what more you have to say, though... half the fun of baseball is debates like this!
I agree that Bernie is borderline and probably doesn't deserve to be in, although his gaudy career postseason stats, New York star power, and the World Series wins mean he will probably get in.
A few years ago someone made the interesting suggestion that Jim Edmonds was a better HOF candidate than Williams, which made me laugh for a moment. But after reading the pro-Edmonds argument, I found myself thinking he was more a of a borderline candidate than I had assumed. These debates are great. I still am not convinced that Edmonds was worthy, but of course many HOFers are a matter of opinion and none has ever been unanimous.
Think about that for a second: isn't it amazing that no one has ever been elected unanimously to the HOF? Are voters conspiring to make sure no one is ever unanimous? Because it's impossible to argue that Rickey Henderson isn't worthy, and yet a few voters didn't think so. Mickey Mantle wasn't unanimous. Neither was Willie Mays or Hank Aaron. Joe DiMaggio was elected on his third try, if you can believe that. I know that a lot of times it's a "know it when you see it" kind of thing. You've seen a guy play great for long enough to know that, yes, he's an all-time great. (Pujols, the Big Unit, and Pedro Martinez come to mind.) But it's kind of mind-boggling to think that back in the day, some of the players we believe were obviously worthy were considered iffy at the time. The year before DiMaggio was elected, he finished behind in the voting to Bill Dickey and Bill Terry. WHAT?!
I've long believed that there are too many HOFers, but it makes you wonder if some of the voters even watch the games anymore. Roberto Alomar not a Hall of Famer? Come on.
I love these HOF discussions and I respect everyone's position, well, except for the guy who voted for David Segui. Anyways, I was reading last night and came across a great term for people who think like me ... Small Hall. My position is that the HOF should be reserved for the true greats of the game. The kind of guys that everyone can agree on being first ballot guys. Ruth, Mays, Mantle, Seaver, etc.
Other folks fall into Medium Hall (Reggie, Sandberg, Ripken) or Big Hall (Rizzuto, Tony Perez, McCovey). I think the current HOF philosophy is probably somewhere between Medium and Big, but it's inconsistent (partially due to voter bias, old school stats, and voter laziness).
I think we can all agree that Edgar isn't Small Hall material. He probably falls somewhere between Medium and Big ... which is why we're having this discussion.
Off the top of my head (without looking at stats), I'd say that Bernie won't make the HOF. I reserve the right to flip/flop after checking the stats. He certainly isn't a Small Hall guy.
I think the reason that guys don't get 100% votes is that some voters are just plain biased. Some guys think that the Hall begins and ends at Babe Ruth and won't vote a guy in until the second ballot. Then others get pissy and won't vote for other guys.
In the end, if you get 95%+ like Rickey, then you are an all-time great.
Personally, on Alomar, back in 2002 (or whenever it was) when the Mets got him, Alomar was on track to becoming a 1st ballot guy. No question. Then, his production just fell off a cliff and he was out of baseball.
Those last couple of years probably weighed on voters' minds. Personally, I'm surprised that he didn't get in, but is it that big of a deal to go in Year 2? Like you said, Dimaggio had to wait for Year 3.
Ok, so what active players do you consider locks for the Hall of Fame? Guys who if their careers ended today, they'd be in?
Ken Griffey, Jr.
What about Mike Mussina, even Andy Pettitte for that matter.
He's not active, is he?
(Plus, I think he's borderline at best, anyway...)