By In Stuff

Ballot 6: Edgar Martinez

martinezefl.jpg

Edgar Martinez

Played 18 years with one team

Seven-time All-Star hit .312 with power for his career, won two batting titles. 68.3 WAR, 38.4 WAA

Pro argument: One of the best hitters in the history of baseball

Con argument: Shortish career because of late start and got 70% of his plate appearances as a DH.

Deserves to be in Hall?:
Yes.

Will get elected this year?:
No, but he’s made a big move in early voting.

Will ever get elected?:
80%

* * *

Jonathan Winters — and I feel 100% certain that is the first and last Edgar Martinez story that will feature Jonathan Winters — had a wonderful comedy career that lasted almost 60 years. He appeared in many movies and television shows. He won an Emmy, a couple of Grammys and he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. If you are of a certain age, maybe 35 or older, you probably have a memory of Jonathan Winters doing something or other, maybe as the baby in “Mork & Mindy,” maybe doing one of his characters on The Tonight Show, maybe as the pool shark in the classic Twilight Zone episode “A Game of Pool.”

He had some fame. He wasn’t one of the biggest stars in the world, but he had a good career. But away from the lights and cameras that create fame, Jonathan Winters was a titan. He was a god. Everyone — EVERYONE — in the business idolized him. For decades, it seemed like every funny person — from Robin Williams to Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal to Conan O’Brien, Jim Carrey to Tracey Ullman to Steve Martin to Jimmy Kimmel to on and on and on –worshiped Winters, patterned their own careers and lives after him.

“I couldn’t wait for success so I went ahead without it,” Winters famously said, and though that isn’t exactly true — he had a superb career — it is true that his fame was dwarfed by his legend. He was the comic’s comic. He was the master. You know the joke about how only 30,000 people bought the first Velvet Underground album but every one of them started a band. Every appearance Jonathan Winters ever made, it seems, changed the life of a future comedian.

Edgar Martinez is the Jonathan Winters of hitters.

Martinez had a wonderful career. He won two batting titles. He led the league in on-base percentage three times, in doubles twice, in runs once, in RBIs once. His .418 on-base percentage is third-best of the last 50 years — behind Barry Bonds, of course, and just barely behind Frank Thomas’ .419 — and he is one of only 13 members of the .310/.410/.510 club.Those members, by the way, include: The Georgia Peach; Rajah; Shoeless Joe;’ Teddy Ballgame; the Babe; Slug Heilmann; The Man; The Iron Horse; Double-X; Hammerin’ Hank; MannyBManny and Todd Helton, who Baseball Reference encourages us to call “The Toddfather,” but I’m not gonna do it. That’s pretty good company.

Those members, by the way, include: The Georgia Peach; Rajah; Shoeless Joe; Teddy Ballgame; the Babe; Slug Heilmann; The Man; The Iron Horse; Double-X; Hammerin’ Hank; MannyBManny and Todd Helton, who Baseball Reference encourages us to call “The Toddfather,” but I’m not gonna do it. That’s pretty good company.

Yes, it was a great career, Hall of Fame worthy. But as good as his career was, it was behind the scenes, among the players, that Edgar Martinez was truly admired. Fans across the country often ignored him. Seattle fans and fans of great hitters loved him. But baseball players, well, they were in awe of him. There’s a story an editor recently told me: One spring training, he assigned his baseball reporters to ask every pitcher they could find: “Who is the toughest hitter you’ve ever faced?” The editor eventually scrapped the whole project. So many of them said Edgar Martinez that there was no point.

We’ve seen some of that in recent years, while the rest of us debate Martinez’s worth as a Hall of Famer. Mariano Rivera called Edgar was the toughest hitter he ever faced. Randy Johnson said Edgar was the best hitter he ever saw. Heck, Pedro Martinez said Edgar was his toughest hitter even though Edgar only hit .120 against Pedro. “He would make me throw at least 13 fastballs above 95,” Pedro said. “I would be breathing hard after that.”

There are a million quotes about Edgar Martinez.

“With a team full of Edgar Martinezes,” Lee Elia once said, “we wouldn’t need a hitting coach.”

“He’s the perfect hitting guy,” Sandy Alomar said.

“I used to just watch him take batting practice,” Derek Jeter said. “We all did.”

Edgar Martinez was an 8-year-old kid in Puerto Rico when he saw Roberto Clemente play in the 1971 World Series. At that point, he knew exactly what he wanted to be. He spent his childhood hitting things, whatever things he and his cousin Carmelo Martinez could find, rocks, bottle caps, cans, tennis balls, big pieces of gravel from a nearby construction site and anything else that was lying around.

Sometimes, Edgar hit stuff that WASN’T lying around. Carmelo Martinez recalled that he used to watch Edgar standing by his grandmother’s house looking up at the roof. Edgar would be holding a broomstick on his shoulder like it was a bat. It made no sense. And then, suddenly, a drop of water would fall from the corner of the roof, Edgar would wait for it and then unleash — hitting the droplet and splashing water everywhere.

The man used to hit raindrops, for crying out loud.

Yes, Martinez was obsessed with hitting — he even named his dog “Swing.” But it was a long climb. No one saw the young Edgar as much of a prospect. He couldn’t run. He did not hit for power. He did not seem suited for any defensive position. He only signed with the Seattle Mariners after showing off his hitting prowess at a tryout camp (he had spent the day working at a pharmaceutical factory). The Mariners gave him $4,000 and sent him 4,000 miles away, to Bellingham, Washington. He couldn’t speak English. He was freezing. He hit .173.

“I couldn’t believe,” he would say, “people could live in such cold weather.”

But it was just a temporary freeze. The hitting came back quickly after that. Edgar hit .303 his second year in the minors. In 1987, when he was 24, he hit .329 and walked a bunch in Class AAA Calgary. The Mariners called him up, and he hit .372 in 13 big league games. He seemed ready for the big leagues.

No.

The next year, at age 25, the Mariners sent him back down to Calgary. So he hit .363 and rocketed line drives all over the place. Again, he seemed to have proven himself to be a Major Leaguer.

No.

Well, to be fair, the next year, the Mariners did try him out in the big leagues. But he only hit .240 with no power. So they sent him BACK to Calgary for a little more seasoning. He hit .345.

Finally, in 1990, at age 27, Edgar was ready. The Mariners gave him an everyday job at third base. The Mariners had never had a winning record before but there was a talent storm brewing in Seattle. A 20-year-old Ken Griffey arrived. A young shortstop, Omar Vizquel, was getting his feet under him. A big left-handed pitcher, Randy Johnson, pitched 200 innings for the first time in his career. This was the beginning of what would be a terrific but star-crossed team.

And, from the start, there was Edgar Martinez at third base. He got his first 500-plate-appearance season … and he hit .302. The next year, he hit .307. The power came slowly, but he could hit from the start. Before Edgar Martinez turned 40, he would have 10 seasons with 500-plus plate appearances. He hit .300 in all ten of them.

Then, it wasn’t just his ability to hit baseballs hard. As Pedro Martinez suggested, the guy would just BREAK pitchers. He treated each at-bat like it was the last chance for peace in the Middle East. He would foul off 100 pitches if necessary. In those 10 full seasons, the LOWEST on-base percentage he had was .397. That would be a career HIGH for many Hall of Fame players. Yes, it’s true that working walks is an underappreciated and generally unpopular skill. Nobody likes walks. Pitchers don’t like them. Fans don’t like them. Even old-school managers and hitters don’t like them.

But the walk is a weapon. Martinez drew so many walks to go along with the rockets he hit all over the park that he created 1,631 runs in just 8,674 plate appearances. He’s 25th all-time in runs created per game. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, but he created more runs per game than Willie Mays, Henry Aaron or Mike Schmidt. It’s more apples-to-apples to say he created more runs per game than Chipper Jones, Mike Piazza or David Ortiz.

“Edgar never swings at a bad pitch,” Juan Gonzalez told Sports Illustrated’s Kelli Anderson. Alas, this was the difference between Juan Gone and Edgar. Gonzalez had more natural power and hit baseballs plenty hard — he played in a great hitters park, yes, but he did lead the league in homers twice and in doubles once, and he won a couple of MVP awards. Still: Juan Gone walked just 457 times in his entire career. Edgar did that just between 1995 and 1998.

Juan Gone hit .295 and slugged .561.

Martinez hit .312 and slugged .515.

But Martinez created 22 more wins, largely because he would not swing at bad pitches.

Edgar was a craftsman. Every time he got a new shipment of bats, first thing, he would weigh each one on his own personal scale, and if it was a half an ounce off, he threw the bat away. He had this daily eye exercise routine One of my favorite Edgar stories: Every spring training he would show up, get into the batter’s box and watch dozens and dozens of pitches go by. He would never swing. He just wanted to watch the baseball go by.

Just about everyone acknowledges Edgar’s hitting genius … so what has kept him out of the Hall of Fame so far? Right. The defense thing. He was a DH most of his career. What’s interesting is that by Baseball Reference numbers, Edgar Martinez was a good third baseman even if he did commit quite a few errors. He had above average defensive WAR each of his first two full seasons at third.

In 1992 — while winning his first batting title — he felt a terrible pain in his right shoulder. The shoulder never felt quite the same, even though other injuries (to his hamstring and when he got hit by a pitch) actually kept him out of games. In 1994, he played 64 games at third (again, he had an above average defensive WAR) but the pain was intense, and the injuries had piled up, and the Mariners wanted him in the lineup every day. They could FIND third basemen (Mike Blowers, Russ Davis, David Bell, Jeff Cirillo).

But they could never find someone who could hit like Edgar.

So, Edgar Martinez became a designated hitter. As a hitter, he matches up awfully well with other good-hitter, mediocre-fielder types — Killebrew, Reggie, McCovey, Stargell, etc. — and if he had just stayed at third and first, no matter how poorly he played in the field, he probably would be in the Hall of Fame already.

Then, maybe his career would have been different if he played in the field — maybe his body would not have held up, and he wouldn’t have played until he was 41. We can’t know the answer to that.

What we do know is that it has always been Edgar Martinez’s destiny to be overlooked. Four or five times every year of his career, it seems, there would be some story admonishing America for not appreciating Edgar Martinez. Well, he was a quiet guy on the West Coast who played in the middle of the night for much of the country. This is his eighth year on the ballot, and because he seems to be making a big move this year, there seems a decent chance he will get elected by the BBWAA in the next two years.

If not, though, I suspect the Veteran’s Committee will race to elect him. After all, it was his teammates and opponents who fully understood the wonder of Edgar.

Oh, there is one more Edgar Martinez story I think of now. His wife, Holli, was once asked what Edgar thinks about when he wakes up in the morning.

“Home plate,” she said.

 

 

 

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147 Responses to Ballot 6: Edgar Martinez

  1. invitro says:

    When I was a kid, about 10, I and my buddies thought Jonathan Winters was the funniest man on the planet.

  2. lazermike says:

    I love baseball, and I love Edgar Martinez, and I love comedy, but man I have never really enjoyed Jonathan Winters.

  3. Ajnrules says:

    Great article. Edgar was and is still under appreciated as a Hall of Famer. But both he and Mussina are “Ballot 5. Are they tied?”

  4. Zach says:

    Line drives. Nothing but line drives. As a kid/young adult growing up in Seattle, I just remember Edgar drilling line drive after line drive…and I remember moving to New York, and the only thing I could hold over the heads of all the Yankees fans was Edgar pretty much single-handedly dismantling them in the 1995 ALDS.

  5. Karyn says:

    I can see admiring Winters’ career and his comic genius, and many things about his life. But he was also bipolar, and spent some time in psychiatric wards. That must have been very difficult, especially in his younger days when mental illness had much more of a stigma, and treatment options were poor.

    • Donald A. Coffin says:

      I have read that Robin Williams was also bipolar.

      I will admit to having found Jonathan Winters almost always funny. But when he was not funny, he was perhaps the least funny comedian ever. Either brilliant or awful, nothing in-between.

      • Rob Smith says:

        Winters playing the baby in Mark and Mindy was an embarrassment that helped end the show. I remember times that he was funny, but later in his career, I don’t think there was anything left.

        • Karyn says:

          It was never a great show, limiting Williams into a standard sitcom formula. He’d have done much better on a cable sitcom, but HBO wasn’t doing those then.

          I think the writers had quit on the show by the time Winters was added. I recall an interview in which the cast said they’d end a scene where the script read: “Jonathan says something funny”. That’s a testament to their faith in Winters’ talent, but it’s also pretty lazy writing.

  6. Drew says:

    It’s annoying. Times change, and baseball has changed. Closers and DH are finally eligible. It’s a position on a baseball team (and in today’s baseball, mighty important). These voters need to get with the times and vote these positions in if worthy.
    Edgar is as HOF as it gets.

    • SDG says:

      I agree. I don’t understand why great hitting + bad fielding = inner circle Hall of Fame, but great hitting + no fielding = “in MY day” bloviating sportswriter nonsense.” And I say this as someone who likes seeing pitchers hit.

    • invitro says:

      Come now. Closers have been fully “eligible” ever since Rollie Fingers made it in on his second (!) ballot in 1992, 25 years ago.

    • Darrel says:

      Closer is not a “position” on a baseball team. Pitcher is a position. Managers are terrified to get second guessed so they send out the same guy in the ninth every day because “hey he’s the closer what am I gonna do?”. This really does not make the pitcher special it makes the manager a dolt. DH on the other hand is a position and Edgar was the best ever. Elect the man already.

  7. Scott says:

    It looks like the writers will eventually elect Edgar. But I wonder why he made such a big move this years. Was it because of Ortiz’s great last season? The purge/younger writers? Did the mismatch between how DHs and relievers are viewed catch up?

  8. birtelcom says:

    Most Fangraphs” Offensive Runs Above Average (“OFF”) age 31-39:
    1. Babe Ruth 709.5
    2. Barry Bonds 700.6
    3. Ted Williams 410.6
    4. Edgar Martinez 396.7
    5. Hank Aaron 382.9
    6. Honus Wagner 375.5
    7. Willie Mays 366.2
    8. Tris Speaker 365.1

    • Daniel Prenat says:

      If we were to correctly assume that Bonds and Ruth are aliens that would make Edgar the second best Human in that particular stat. LOL!

      • Simon says:

        haha well said. There’s a pretty good case to be made for Ted Williams as alien too. After all, he’s third here despite missing almost all of his age 33-34 seasons to fly “spaceships” around Korea.

  9. Rick Rodstrom says:

    The hitter Edgar Martinez most reminded me of was Hank Aaron. A right handed hitter who hit everything hard on a line. His outs were hard. His foul balls were hard. Great balance, great plate discipline. Just a hitting machine. I’d love to see him in the Hall of Fame.

  10. Knuckles says:

    If they hold it against him for not playing the field much then kick out Randy Johnson for not hitting while in the American league. Mariano Rivera is going to bet 98% and has 4 career PA’s. Hate the anti-DH argument.

    Kudos to Joe for a great use of a VOTE!

    • birtelcom says:

      Edgar had about 8,700 plate appearances in his MLB career. Randy Johnson faced over 17,000 hitters in his career, and was thus involved in about twice as many plate appearances as Edgar had as a hitter. I don’t think they are quite comparable in terms of the level of participation in the game.

    • SDG says:

      It’s odd. I would understand sportswriters refusing to vote for any aspect of the game Ty Cobb wouldn’t recognize. I would think it’s extremely stupid, but it would be a logical and consistent point of view. But there is no reason to be so definitive that Rivera is a first-ballot, near unanimous player (and I agree he will be) when relievers, let alone one-inning closers, are a modern adaptation to the original game, but to reject a DH for the same reason.

      Maybe it’s part of the general nation that home runs are what we get emotional about. Baseball history is people losing their shit over home run records (and to a letter extent breaking .400 or breaking the all-time hit record) but don’t seem to care as much about strikeout records or pitcher records in general or stolen base records. Same with steroids. People associate them primarily with hitting homers, not high AVG or base stealing or throwing hard. Bonds has been the poster child for steroids, along with Canseco, McGwire, and other power hitters, with Clemens being a distant second. I get homers are the most exciting part of the game, but it doesn’t make sense.

      • invitro says:

        “but to reject a DH for the same reason.” — I don’t accept that Edgar has been rejected because he was a DH. I think it’s been the walks. I don’t think Edgar is worthy of the HoF without the gigantic walk totals, and so if a writer thinks walks are worthless, and we know lots of them have and do, Edgar just isn’t worthy of the HoF. (And anyone who thinks Seattle or the West Coast has been a factor needs to explain why neither Griffey or Randy had any trouble. It’s the walks, first, and the lack of World Series, which Joe strangely didn’t even mention once, second.)

        • Rob Smith says:

          I agree. Without the walks and his unworldly OBP, (which beefed up OPS and OPS+) you’d have to squint really hard to make a HOF case. So you have to decide how much you like walks. The best visual for the importance of Walks, IMO, is a Joe Morgan Strat-O-Matic card. Walks can sound kinda meh until you play SOM and see the impact of a player who is constantly on base.

        • Crazy Diamond says:

          *slow clap* excellent post, Invitro! Kudos. I totally agree with everything you wrote.

          • invitro says:

            You do? You’re not just trying to score some drugs, are you?…

          • Crazy Diamond says:

            BTW, I read Invitro’s posts out of order – not from the top-to-bottom of Joe’s page. He had a terrific post (above) and then the rest was downhill, unfortunately.

          • invitro says:

            It’s well-known that LSD skews your sense of direction.

    • Bryan says:

      Pitcher A: 1216.2 IP, hitters batted .208/.257/.284
      Pitcher B: 1192.2 IP, hitters batted .191/.237/.281
      Pitcher C: 1408.0 IP, hitters batted .198/.253/.297

      A = Rivera excluding his first season, B = 1963-66 Koufax, C = 1997-2003 Pedro. No fancy stats, no adjustment for era, DH or anything else. Just 3 pitchers who turned all batters they faced into collectively a backup catcher for over 1000 consecutive innings pitched.

      If you hold it against Mariano that opponents batting average starts with a 2 then he has the 79 playoff appearances where the other team doesn’t score. 6 times a runner already on base when Mariano entered the game scored, 9 times a runner who appeared at the plate and faced Mariano scored and twice both things happened in the same game. 82% of the time nobody scored.

      52 of 396 voters didn’t vote for Koufax, 49 of 549 voters didn’t vote for Pedro. Mariano won’t get 100% because either Murray Chass or someone else if Murray isn’t alive in the fall of 2018, will value the traffic to his blog that not voting for Mariano will provide. Mariano’s ballot isn’t a way to honor the career of the player, it’s a way for a writer to draw attention to themselves.

      Ever hear of Corky Simpson? Did you ever live in Tuscon, Arizona? If you answered yes to the first and no to the second and know which Corky I’m talking about you know how a retired columnist got more attention for this than anything else he did in his entire life.

      “If I had properly researched the situation, I would have voted for Rickey Henderson if for no other reason than he played for nine ball teams,” he said. “Imagine that. He’ll be the first Hall of Famer to have a bronze bust with nine caps stacked on his head.
      “He was a wonderful player and I simply goofed. I voted for eight deserving men. I could have picked two more — and I wish to heck I had.”

      • Bryan says:

        Googled Murray Chass to see if he was still alive and he is and has even become self-aware and perfectly described his own behavior:
        “The Internet is responsible for this sort of inane behavior. It is free to all and allows all to behave like mentally deficient jerks.” Murray Chass on Jan 1, 2017.

      • Doug says:

        It’s a shame to have bloggers like Murray Chass who are so obsessed with web traffic and hits on their blogs that they write. Maybe Murray Chass should think a little less about his blogging and a little more about baseball.

      • Rob Smith says:

        Does it really matter that a couple of old cranks don’t vote for Rivera? Nobody gets voted in with an asterisk. You hit 75%, you’re in. They don’t shine up your bust any more based on your vote percentage.

        • Crazy Diamond says:

          I think it matters to a small degree. I bet most of us can name the 3 players with the highest vote percentage in history. Then again, I doubt anyone can name the 3 players with lowest percentage of votes over 75%…

          Hmmm.

          • invitro says:

            I couldn’t name the highest %’s. Tom Seaver, maybe? It’s just trivia. It might be meaningful if the writers did a better job of voting. (Apparently Vladdy is sitting at 74%… if/when he makes it, it’ll be the worst HoF selection since a few years.)

          • Crazy Diamond says:

            If you can’t name the players with the Top 3 highest vote percentages, you’re not more than a casual HOF fan. Ken Griffey Jr. broke Tom Seaver’s mark last year. Nolan Ryan is third. Even casual Hall fans will remember Joe’s post mentioning the above stats.

            Also if you think Edgar Martinez should be in but not Vladimir Guerrero then you’re even more laughable than I thought. Go smoke another bowl while playing online in your mother’s basement and let the grownups discuss baseball.

          • invitro says:

            “Also if you think Edgar Martinez should be in but not Vladimir Guerrero then you’re even more laughable than I thought.” — So you think Joe is laughable, too? Pro tip: you’d fit in much better over at Murray Chass’s blog.

          • Patrick says:

            Who cares what a player’s percentage was?

            Roberto Alomar was elected with a higher percentage of the vote than Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio. Paul Molitor got more of the vote than Ernie Banks. How many people do you think know that off the top of their head?

      • Mort says:

        Yes, Mariano was a great pitcher in the role he played. However, a simple look at the numbers overlooks the dominant fact of his career, which is that he rarely faced the same hitter more than a handful of times in a season. A starting pitcher has to face the same guy three or four times a day, which means he has to have several different ways of getting him out. If Mariano faced somebody three or four times in a year, that was a lot. When batters and pitchers are unfamiliar with each other, the pitcher has a huge advantage. If you need an illustration of how important this is, go back and look at Mariano Rivera, starting pitcher. There are only a few of those appearances, all at the start of his career. And the numbers there don’t look so good. Mariano couldn’t hack it as a starting pitcher. On the other hand, just about any starting pitcher could make it as a closer, as Mr. Smoltz could tell you. The closer’s job is much easier and is credited far out of proportion to the value of his contribution. That’s why Smoltz went back to starting as soon as the Braves had another option for closer. (Actually, I wonder if it wouldn’t prolong starting pitchers’ careers to give them a season at closer every three or five years or so, just to give their arms a rest.)

        • invitro says:

          “just about any starting pitcher could make it as a closer, as Mr. Smoltz could tell you.” — So you think Smoltz was just about any starting pitcher, huh?

          • Patrick says:

            Smoltz is a bad choice. Of course, Wade Davis, Zach Britton, and Andrew Miller are all perfect examples of below average starters who have not just made it as relievers, but have become elite ones in the game today.

        • Bryan says:

          For entire career, can also do this year-by-year even without a Play Index subscription at baseball-reference.com:
          Koufax first time through order as SP: 190/263/288
          2nd time as SP (92% of PA of first time): 204/272/334
          3rd time as SP (80% of PA of first time): 211/275/317
          4th+ time as SP (50% of PA of first time): 225/286/351
          Pedro first time through order as SP: 215/273/349
          2nd time as SP (98% of PA of first time): 211/276/322
          3rd time as SP (82% of PA of first time): 212/269/338
          4th+ time as SP (18% of PA of first time): 254/310/389
          Mariano actually improves but in a tiny number of PA. 208/257/284 for first time in relief, 68 PA facing batter 2nd time in relief: 164/235/295 and 2 PA facing batter 3rd time in relief: 000/000/000.
          ***
          Yes, you have to give Koufax credit for going deeper into games than Pedro. Starting vs relief you’re simply limited in objective comparisons, Mariano is charged with 2.38 runs per 9 innings for his entire career including his rookie season. Koufax is charged with 2.12 runs per 9 innings for 1963-66. How much confidence do you have that the Dodger stadium scorer wasn’t looking for any excuse to assign an error on a play, 16% of runs at home are unearned vs 10% on the road. Let alone the 2.72 runs per 9 innings on the road vs 1.56 at home, such a large split suggesting that more than just “pitchers are usually play better at home” was a factor.
          ***
          Yes, it’s fair to wonder how much of a factor in Mariano’s health and success is that after 122 IP in his 2nd season including post-season he never pitches 100+ IP in a season again. Or wonder how much longer is Koufax’s career if many of his starts end after 7 innings. Or wonder how well Walter Johnson would have pitched in an era that HR were a lot more common. Or wonder how Old Hoss Radbourn’s career would have gone if he didn’t pitch more innings in 1883-84 than Mariano’s entire regular season career. But in the end you have to vote based on how well they did pitch.

  11. invitro says:

    I’m disappointed to see Edgar ahead of Walker. If even Joe doesn’t care so much for Walker, he’s probably toast. I’ll be curious to see if any analysts come up with a good reason to keep Walker out of the HoF, when his post rolls around. (Being Canadian is a good start, but I don’t think it’s enough. Maybe being British Columbian is enough?)

  12. Crazy Diamond says:

    Edgar Martinez does not belong in the HOF. The guy finished with 2 top-10 finishes in MVP voting in 16 full seasons. His other MVP voting finishes in his career? 12th, 14, and 16th. Wow. What. A. Peak.

    But sarcasm aside, how could ANYONE not love a guy who has 309 HRs, 2200+ hits, 1200+ RBIs – all while playing a position that requires only one thing: hitting. Yes, his splits are good, but for a guy whose only job was to hit, his BA/OBP/SLG simply aren’t good enough to make up for his lack of defense.

    Lastly, a fun stat: here are BR’s Top-10 best comps. Tell me which one is a HOFer or even particularly close:

    1. Will Clark
    2. John Olerud (885)
    3. Moises Alou (879)
    4. Magglio Ordonez (875)
    5. Bob Johnson (863)
    6. Matt Holliday (862)
    7. Bernie Williams (860)
    8. Paul O’Neill (852)
    9. Lance Berkman (851)
    10. Ellis Burks (850)

    • invitro says:

      I bet Juan Gone is in your inner circle HoF…

    • Nick S. says:

      Whenever people use MVP- and all-star voting to justify HOF voting all I hear is: “People failed to recognize your greatness before! So I’m here to compound that error!”
      Also, by the way, maybe don’t write “But sarcasm aside” and then immediately follow it up with sarcasm.

      • Crazy Diamond says:

        I didn’t use All-Star voting. And while I recognize that MVP voting is flawed, I also have a hard time believing that the MVP voting in every year of his career was flawed. Obviously there have been some awful – truly awful – MVP choices. But do you really think the writers got it wrong and undervalued Edgar in all 16 of his seasons? Or is it possible that Edgar simply didn’t match up to the other players in his era? I love conspiracy theories, but this is one I’m not buying.

        “Sarcasm aside” was a joke. Lighten up, Francis.

        • Karyn says:

          I think it highly likely that Edgar’s contributions were undervalued by sportswriters and much of the general public for most of his career. He played on the west coast, he DHed most of the time, and he was and is a quiet man in public.
          We have better tools to evaluate players now. We’re not limited to Triple Crown stats, errors, and pitcher wins. We don’t have to carry on the misperceptions of the past.

          • Crazy Diamond says:

            I want to agree with you, Karyn, but I just don’t think that Edgar Martinez was so underrated over the course of 16 years. And I don’t think Seattle is so remote that voters forget about the M’s.

            The Mariners, as a team, DO win awards. Randy Johnson and Felix Hernandez both won Cy Young Awards. Griffey and Ichiro both won MVPs. Seattle routinely wins Silver Slugger AND Gold Glove Awards – including Edgar’s winning 5 Silver Sluggers by himself.

            So it’s either believe that Edgar is wildly underrated…or that he simply wasn’t as good as we (or you) want to believe.

            Again, he was a very good player with a lovely 300/400/500 slash line. I’d be surprised – maybe even shocked – if he doesn’t get in on his 9th or 10th ballot. But to me, he wasn’t good enough.

          • Karyn says:

            And if you’re a small hall guy, that’s fine. What irritates me a little (and I’m not saying that you’re doing this) is when people completely disregard newer stats when evaluating a player’s career.
            We can look and see that Edgar was more valuable than 12th place in the 1992 MVP voting. More valuable than 14th place in the 1997 MVP voting.
            Randy Johnson was a singular player–very distinctive in no small part due to his height. Ichiro was also incredibly famous, coming to the US with a lot of notoriety already, before playing an inning of MLB. Griffey was extremely charismatic and was considered the face of baseball. Edgar didn’t have any of that. All the man did was hit.

          • Crazy Diamond says:

            Felix DID win a Cy Young Award with a crummy W-L record, so the BBWAA is at least somewhat coming around to sabermetrics. While Ichiro did come over with much fanfare, I think it was still a bit of a surprise that he won the MVP. Usually the big HR guys get the MVPs. But Ichiro won the MVP because he deserved it, not because of hype. As far as 1992, he probably should’ve been in the top 5 of voting. In ’97, I think Top 8-10 would’ve been more fair. So I agree that he was underrated for those two years. But honestly, does finishing in the Top 8 for both of those years help his HOF case much?

            I will say one thing, though. After realizing how few players finished their careers with 300/400/500, I do think that Edgar Martinez at least has a solid case to make for the HOF. It’s a seriously flawed case, but I give him more credit than I once did. To me, he’s borderline and falls just short. But again, I won’t cry if he gets in =)

          • Patrick says:

            The idea that Edgar was somehow underappreciated by writers because he played on the West Coast is laughable. Seriously, the AL MVP was won by NL West players the final nine seasons of Edgar’s career. His Seattle teammates won Cy Young awards, MVPs, and ROY awards during his career. His manager won Manager of the Year twice.

            The idea that Seattle was somehow ignored by the media during Edgar’s career is just wrong.

            Martinez never did well in MVP voting because, well, he was never that valuable. His best finish in an season by WAR was 3rd in 1995—and he finished 3rd in MVP voting, earning 4 first place votes. His next best finish was 8th in 1992, and he finished 12th in the voting.

            He’s a deserving HOFer in my book, but there’s really no claim that he was meaningfully underrepresented in MVP voting, unless you’re fretting about down ballot votes.

        • Nick S. says:

          That was just me missing the joke. My bad.

          As for using MVP voting, I’m not saying there’s a conspiracy or anything of the sort. I just don’t think it’s useful to base my opinions on other peoples’ opinions when there’s actual information at my disposal.

          When discussing Martinez’ HOF worthiness–or anyone’s–I think it’s better to stick to the record of the player’s on-field performance.

    • birtelcom says:

      BRef’s comps are based on old-fashioned stats. How about comps based on offensive and defensive WAR:
      Edgar 66.4 oWAR, -9.7 dWAR
      Raines 68.4,oWAR, -9.5 dWAR
      Gwynn 66.2 oWAR, -8.3 dWAR
      Palmeiro 66.7 oWAR, -11.7 dWAR

      Note these are career numbers, and that Edgar achieved these in about 8,700 PAs, compared to over 10,000 for Raines and Gwynn and over 12,000 for Palmeiro.

      • invitro says:

        Yes, much better.

      • Crazy Diamond says:

        Birtel: I agree with your point about “old-fashioned stats.” I think that’s the crux of the argument for/against Edgar. Those of us who believe in the old-fashioned stats – people like me – cannot see a HOF with a guy like Edgar. Those of you – like Invitro, I’m assuming – who believe in sabermetrics see Edgar as a no-brainer for the HOF.

        Edgar Martinez had a nice career and was a very good player. I don’t see him as a HOFer. Others do. If and likely when Edgar gets elected, he will be nowhere near the worst HOFer and I’d wish him the best. I wouldn’t vote for him, but I wouldn’t cringe too terribly much if he got elected, either.

        • invitro says:

          “see Edgar as a no-brainer for the HOF.” — He should be in, but he’s closer to being borderline than the inner circle. Also: walks aren’t old-fashioned. The view that walks are worthless is what’s old-fashioned… and factually incorrect. I’m sure you agree…

          • Crazy Diamond says:

            Yep, I agree with (most of) that. Joe rates him pretty highly and clearly doesn’t see Edgar as “borderline.” But for the average voter, I think you’re right in your assessment.

            As far as walks, I’m not sure what to think about that. While I do think they’re valuable, particularly from guys higher up in the order, I don’t necessarily want my cleanup guy being too patient. That’s the old argument about Joey Votto. Should Votto, the best hitter on the team, take a walk or try to make something happen with the bat? There’s no easy answer.

            I also have no idea if walks were viewed with the same importance in 1960 as they are now. There’s an old quote from Mickey Mantle about SBs. “Hell, If I’d known 40–40 was going to be a big deal, I’d have done it every year!”

            Obviously that quote speaks to Mantle’s ego, but few people doubt his talent and speed. If stealing bases were as important in Mantle’s day as they were in Rickey’s and Raines’s days, I’m guessing Mickey would’ve stolen more bases…particularly if a bigger paycheck were involved.

          • Crazy Diamond says:

            So I’m not sure that walks have always been viewed with the same importance as they are now. In Andre’s case, and likely in the view of salary arbitrators, HRs were more important than walks. So why walk if there was no money in it??? I’m not saying I agree with this, but I am saying that I understand it.

          • Crazy Diamond says:

            *Joe wrote a piece about Andre Dawson and his low OBP. Joe argued that walks (and, conversely, making outs) were always important and that Dawson’s viewpoint of walks was irrelevant. I disagree.

          • invitro says:

            “I also have no idea if walks were viewed with the same importance in 1960 as they are now.” — In 1960, no one even knew how many walks any player had. That didn’t become knowledge until the MacMillan encyclopedia in about 1969. I don’t know if anyone proved that drawing walks was a real skill of hitters until Bill James did, in the 1970’s or 1980’s.

            “Joe argued that walks (and, conversely, making outs) were always important and that Dawson’s viewpoint of walks was irrelevant.” — Joe, of course, was correct. Walks did not need recognition in order to start becoming potential runs; they always were. This should be obvi but apparently it needs to be said.

          • Crazy Diamond says:

            I still think that the value of a walk increases or decreases with each situation. In MOST circumstances, Andre Dawson was significantly more valuable as a hitter than as a baserunner. If it’s the 9th inning and Dawson is up with 2 on and his team trailing by 4, then obviously he’s more valuable as a runner than a hitter. So of course there are exceptions.

            Again, is Joey Votto more valuable as a baserunner if he has singles-hitters hitting behind him? Or should he come up hacking and hope his power translates into something more than one base?

          • invitro says:

            “In MOST circumstances, Andre Dawson was significantly more valuable as a hitter than as a baserunner.” — Do you have a reason for saying this? Because it seems like the only way a player could be more valuable as a hitter than as a baserunner is if his SLG, adjusted to include walks, was greater than 1.000. I have a feeling you’re saying something without actually thinking about it… or being able to understand it… again…

          • Crazy Diamond says:

            Invitro: there’s this thing called the “intentional walk.” Do you know why managers/pitchers use it? It’s because some players, particularly players who are really good at hitting the baseball, are less valuable on the bases than at the plate. If you want to search on the internet, you’ll find that the overwhelming majority of career leaders in IBB (that stands for “intentional walk”) were really really good hitters. Do you want to know why those hitters were intentionally walked so frequently? It’s because coaches/pitchers realized that some players are more valuable as a hitters than as baserunners.

            If you want, I can try to use smaller words for you. It might help you understand a little better.

          • invitro says:

            Syd, even the greatest hitters are intentionally walked only a tiny fraction of the time. Since we recently were talking about a Willie Mays Hall of Fame, let’s take Willie Mays as an example. He was intentionally walked 192 times from 1955 (when the IBB started being measured, apparently) until the end of his career. That’s a whole lot of IBB’s. But how often did he get an IBB? Less than 2% of the time. Less than one time every 50 plate appearances.

            Now, according to you, Andre Dawson should’ve been intentionally walked ALL the time. Or at least 90% of the time. So you’re defending this claim by saying that some hitters are IBB’ed as much as 2% of the time?

            Dude, you don’t even have a kindergarten-level understanding of baseball. When you try to defend yourself, you only end up looking more stupid. Here’s a pro tip: try reading other people’s comments, listen and learn from them. Or don’t, if you want… having a Murray Chass-like clueless poster is kind of entertaining.

    • Donald A. Coffin says:

      Notice that none of them are particularly *good* comps, though. Which says Edgar’s skill set was not very common.

    • Eric says:

      It isn’t like the average DH hits .300/.400/.500

      • Crazy Diamond says:

        Then the Q becomes: is 300/400/500 the new 3,000 hits, 500 HRs, 300 wins? If so, should Man-Ram be penalized for PEDs and should Walker & Helton be penalized for Coors? Everyone else (except Joe Jackson) to finish with 5000 ABs + 300/400/500 is in the HOF.

        Every single 300/400/500 member except those mentioned above is in the HOF. Most are inner-circle. But where does that leave Edgar, Man-Ram, Walker, and Helton???

    • John Autin says:

      You completely misunderstand those top 10 “comps” for Edgar: First, none is very comparable, with Will Clark leading at 902. That fact alone is a common characteristic of HOFers; it also means you can’t draw conclusions about Edgar from those other players. And a couple of those players have yet to be on a HOF ballot.
      But most importantly, similarity scores are based 100% on conventional stats, mainly on counting stats, and not at all on OBP:
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/about/similarity.shtml

  13. Texas Tim says:

    It’s funny but I have almost no memories of Edgar’s career. A big part of that is because as Joe mentioned he played on the West Coast and I live in the East coast. But more than that is the fact that he never made ESPN high light shows because those were geared to show home runs. So he’d only get on if he managed a bases clearing double or game winning hit. Combine that with lack of playoffs means many fans will be like me and have no memories of his greatness.

    The second thing working against him is that during his career fantasy baseball was taking off for many of us and Edgar just was a fantasy bust because he didn’t qualify at any position but DH and the only category he helped in was batting average (and RBI somewhat). So while he may be a vastly better player than Juan Gone (or Pat the Bat) by virtue of WAR, way more fans are going to fondly remember Juan and Pat because those guys were fantasy studs. I know I’ll recall the latter 2 guys 20 years from now because of fantasy while forgetting Edgar entirely.

    • KHAZAD says:

      I suspect that you are a really crappy fantasy player. Edgar had a 7 year period where he averaged 28 HR, 114 RBIs, hit .329 and added 100 runs. “Pat the Bat” hit 114 RBIs once in his career. That was probably his best fantasy year, and he hit .256, added 77 runs and 30 homers. Juan was a fantasy stud for awhile. In the same period he averaged 9 more home runs and 7 more RBIs than Edgar, while giving up 11 runs, 18 points in BA and a couple of steals.

      Edgar was comparable to him fantasy wise at least, and if you were in an advance league that used OBP and slugging instead of average (which I was) then his .446 OBP and .574 slugging were the stuff that dreams were made of.

      • invitro says:

        “I suspect that you are a really crappy fantasy player.” — OH SNAP!

        • Crazy Diamond says:

          Invitro yet again outdoes himself with inane comments. Go troll CBSSports instead. Or at least try to be funny while trolling.

          • invitro says:

            What if I just quote some of your greatest lyrics?

            Ginger, ginger, Jennifer Gentle you’re a witch.
            You’re the left side
            He’s the right side.
            Oh, no!
            That cat’s something I can’t explain.

      • Texas Tim says:

        I started playing fantasy baseball in the mid 80s after one of my friends bought the original book by Okrent. The league we started and subsequent leagues I was in up until the early 2000’s always used the original rules (4 hitting, 4 pitching categories) since most of the work had to be done by hand.

        After the turn of the millennium online sites made possible new rules, more categories etc like what you describe.

        As for my fantasy prowess, your wrong, I am not a crappy player. I finished ‘in the money’ more than my fair share of times and won a few league crowns. To this day I don’t recall anyone ever being excited to have him on their team.

        • invitro says:

          Maybe your other league members were even more crappy than you were. And did the Internet come late to your town or something? Online fantasy leagues existed in 1994 (I was in one, and pimped for TQStats, an early fantasy stat company, which allowed any stat categories you could desire), and were widespread by at least 1997. Maybe you were living in Rwanda at the time? VENI VIDI VICI!

          • Rob Smith says:

            Ehhhh. Online in 1994 meant Prodigy, Compuserve and AOL. If there were online fantasy sites then they were rare and rudimentary accessed via dial up.

          • invitro says:

            Rob, there are other ways to get the Internet than Prodigy, Compuserve, and AOL. In 1994 I was a college student, and used the Internet many hours a day both on campus, and at home through my dial-up modem. You couldn’t have watched movies via dial-up, but we’re talking baseball stats, text, which a dial-up modem is plenty fast enough for. And in 1997, there were lots of small local companies that sold inexpensive Internet access to anyone — I know, because I worked for one. ESPN had fantasy baseball by then and ESPN is not rare. (And this website, Joe’s, would’ve easily been readable via a 9600-baud modem.)

          • Texas Tim says:

            Maybe they were/are crappy.

            I’d be happy to enter a league you are in next year so we can figure it out.

          • Texas Tim says:

            Also less than 1/10 of 1% of the population was online in 1994 (The Netscape brower wasn’t even released until Oct 94).

            I was online via BBS’s all through the 80’s and early 90’s but didn’t get actual internet access until 1995 and this is in a major city like Toronto. Anyone on the internet prior to 95 was primarily academic (students like yourselves). There were no websites because there were no browsers.

            ESPN website formally started in 95 after Netscape was released (I remember when it first came online).

            I’ll say it again, there were virtually no fantasy leagues available until 98 and those that were around then used the standard 4×4 stats (or maybe 5×5 adding runs/K’s). If you can PROVE (screen shot/wiki) an online league that had other stats online prior to 98 I’d love to see it.

          • invitro says:

            “I’d be happy to enter a league you are in next year so we can figure it out.” — It’s on! I plan on doing ESPN “winner’s leagues” this year, and I don’t know if you’re eligible for those, but I wouldn’t mind joining one “loser’s” league. You’ll need to be around here in March though.

          • invitro says:

            “I’ll say it again, there were virtually no fantasy leagues available until 98” — This isn’t what you said, though. You said “after the turn of the millenium.”

            “If you can PROVE (screen shot/wiki) an online league that had other stats online prior to 98 I’d love to see it.” — If you really want to know, research TQStats, and Stats, Inc. (that’s the one associated with Bill James). Again, TQStats did the stats for the league I was in in 1994; they did any categories you wanted. (I’m not going to do your work for you, though. Do your own research.)

  14. Breadbaker says:

    Opening Day 2001, Safeco Field. A’s v. M’s, Tim Hudson versus Freddy Garcia, two teams that hated one another and had finished a weird half-game apart the preceding season (Oakland had had a game rained out in Tampa, which is strange even to write).

    Hudson was barely hittable, but Edgar worked him for walks his first two times at bat, meaning he reached his pitch limit early and left after five. The M’s came back from a 4-1 deficit and won, 5-4, starting on their 116 victory season. But the key to the game was how many pitches Edgar made Tim Hudson throw.

  15. Alejo says:

    Couldn’t you get a uglier card? Poor Edgar (the moustache!) and the card (horrid!)

    • invitro says:

      I think it’s a nice card. 1988 Fleer, I think. Very early in Edgar’s career. The problems with the card are the fading-out photo, and mostly that yellow bar near the bottom. It looks like it’s a sticker that’s covering up some secret knowledge.

  16. KHAZAD says:

    A professional hitter, Edgar should have been in already. I don’t understand the thing against DHs. There are many in the Hall of Fame who cost their teams runs by crappy fielding and they don’t get dinged for standing there and watching as balls get hit past them. Edgar was a pretty good fielder when he was still out there, and played 30% of his games in the field. He also gets dinged for playing on the west coast, and for not being a huge power hitter.

    I suspect David Ortiz (who only played 12% of his games in the field and did so hideously) will get in fairly quickly when it is his turn. Edgar was easily a better hitter and better all around player than Ortiz.

    • invitro says:

      KHAZAD, I think your dingings are really wrong. Plenty of west coast players make the HoF with no problem, that’s not it. Plenty of guys who aren’t huge power hitters make it with no problem, that’s not it. I don’t think DH matters either, but no counterexamples exist. I said it above, the problems are (1) walks, and (2) no World Series. In contrast to your dingings, both of these two things are known to affect many HoF votes. Ortiz doesn’t rely on walks, and he obvi has WS aplenty, so those won’t be a problem… but his PED problems will.

      • KHAZAD says:

        I do think walks are underrated Invitro, especially by those that vote. I don’t think not having a World Series should matter. I think it is much more a matter of circumstance than skill. I do think people bring it up as an excuse for not voting for someone. I think people bring it up to explain why they voted for someone as well. I also think those people are hypocrites. I never heard anyone mentioning Thomas or Griffey’s lack of post season experience. Both have about half the post season PAs as Edgar, zero world series, and neither distinguished themselves. Pizza went to one world series and lost, and has a lesser post season resume in a similar (but still less) number of PAs than Edgar.

        Ortiz will get alot of talk about his post season exploits when it is his time.
        But he played for the Red Sox in a time when they were good and played alot of post season games. His post season stats are good, but overall are pretty much in line with the type of hitter he was throughout his career, as I think many people who played in 18 post season series and more than half a season of games would be. Also while I think that a few people will talk about PEDS, I will bet you that they get glossed over and he sails in by the second or third year because he has a big smile and a big personality and he played in Boston. If we are both around here or this place exists then, I will remind you.

    • Texas Tim says:

      I suspect Ortiz sails into the hall because it’s the hall of ‘FAME’ and not just the hall of ‘SKILL’.

      If it was the hall of skill (ie best players) then yeah a professional hitter or a professional defensive wiz etc would get in easily.

      But like it or not, fame is part of the equation and Ortiz is about 10x as famous a player as Edgar is because he won multiple titles, because of his home run prowess and his outgoing personality.

      One of my hall of fame tests is whether or not I would/did buy a ticker specifically to see that player play. When Seattle came to Toronto to play the Jays I’d go to the games Johnson pitched so I could see him, Griffey and Arod. The same goes for Boston, I went to see Ortiz (and Manny) play.

      Now that’s not the only criteria for making the hall obviously but when I tell my kids about the players I saw those will be the ones I talk about, the guys I bought tickets to see play.

      • invitro says:

        “But like it or not, fame is part of the equation” — Maybe for you it is. It isn’t for Joe, and it isn’t for most of us here. Like it or not. AAAAAA-CHOOOO!

      • Karyn says:

        The Hall of Fame does not recognize fame; it confers it.

        • Texas Tim says:

          So Rose, Clemens, Bonds, Shoeless Joe etc aren’t famous? Pretty sure they are.

          The Hall confers recognition of a career accomplishments. One part of those accomplishments is fame (like it or not). That’s why Joe talked about Darrel Evans vs Perez/Garvey in an earlier post and how Evans gets no traction for the hall while Perez/Garvey got plenty.

          • Crazy Diamond says:

            If it’s truly about fame, then guys like Bo Jackson, Dwight Gooden / Darryl Strawberry, Jose Canseco, and Don Mattingly should be in.

          • Karyn says:

            It’s not there to reward fame. It’s to honor greatness. Sometimes we have a hard time seeing greatness in its own time. That’s why we have the five year wait before putting players on the ballot.
            Bo Jackson was famous as hell. He didn’t have a Hall of Fame baseball career.

        • Patrick says:

          In theory, yes. In practice, however, I think it’s clear voters take into account the fame of a player. Take Roger Maris for example. He was a corner OF who had a .260 average, 1,325 hits, and 850 RBI. There’s no reason a player like him should even sniff the Hall of Fame, but he got over 40% of the vote three times. Another example might be Don Larsen. Pitchers who are 81-91 usually don’t stay on the ballot for 15 years. But he of course, had the perfect game.

          Now, these players weren’t elected, of course, but their vote totals were absolutely influenced by their fame.

    • Patrick says:

      The idea that Edgar’s HOF candidacy is somehow hurt by him playing in Seattle would make a lot more sense if he didn’t already have two teammates in the Hall, with a third sure to follow whenever he retires, and a fourth likely only missing out because of his PED usage. Seriously, how many guys who played with Edgar do we need to give awards to/enshrine in the Hall before we put that stupid myth to bed?

    • Patrick says:

      Playing in Seattle is such a burden that so far, Edgar’s only got two teammates in the Hall, a third who will follow when he finally retires, and a fourth who will only be kept out due to PED usage.

  17. Wes Tovich says:

    Oh put him in. He’s Harry Heilmann or someone. Stupidly good hitter. His glove not so much but who cares? I would absolutely vote for him.

  18. Brad says:

    I’ve been watching and reading about baseball for almost half a century but for the life of me, I can’t figure out who Joe is referring to when he mentions “double X”. Help me out here!?

  19. Don’t have much to say as Edgar’s numbers speak for themselves. But, man, those 1988 Fleer cards were terrible. Yet, finding a box at the local drug store was like winning the lottery.

    • invitro says:

      Hyperbolizing just a bit? The ’88 Fleer weren’t that bad, and they were as good as winning the lottery… of Haiti, maybe.

  20. TS says:

    “The man used to hit raindrops, for crying out loud.”

    Classic

  21. Sean Sullivan says:

    Here’s Jonathan Winters being a two minute genius, just because.

    • invitro says:

      Watching that… it’s funny how much of Robin Williams is just a Winters impersonation.

      • Rob Smith says:

        That’s very true. Robin Williams loved Jonathan Winters because…. they were the same guy. Manic (literally) improv. Sometimes very funny…. sometimes unfunny and irritating. I’ll give this to Jonathan Winters. To the best of my knowledge he never had a period where he was a mime.

  22. TWolf says:

    I never thought I would eversee the day when Edgar Martinez and Jonathan Winters were mentioned in the same sentence.

  23. Mike says:

    No mention of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World? Loved Jonathan Winters and the whole cast in that movie.

    • Rob Smith says:

      Have you seen it recently? I remember loving it, then I saw it again recently. OMG, it was horrible. Either it just doesn’t hold up over time or I had no actual conception of humor 30-40 years ago.

  24. Brian Schwartz says:

    The strangest thing about this DH debate is the fact that the same writers voting against Martinez because he was a DH also voted to elect DH Frank Thomas on the first ballot. Martinez was on the ballot the same year and got 25% of the vote. Thomas has a stronger case because his career was longer, but it’s not so much stronger that he should have outpolled Martinez by 59%.

    • Crazy Diamond says:

      I think those writers who voted for Frank Thomas and not Edgar Martinez realized something: Frank Thomas was a much, much better player than Edgar Martinez.

      • Brian Schwartz says:

        I said that Thomas has a stronger case, my point is more that it makes no sense to say “A DH is too one-dimensional and someone who plays that position shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame,” but also vote for Thomas.

    • invitro says:

      It’s not because Thomas’s career was longer, it’s because it was better. They have the same OBP, but Thomas’s SLG is 40 points higher. Reason? 521 HR, as compared to 309. That HR difference is a big deal, especially to HoF voters. And Frank was seen as the best hitter in baseball for somewhere between 2 and 4 years… I don’t think Edgar ever was (or should’ve been… maybe in 1995).

      • Crazy Diamond says:

        It just goes to show what an awesome player Frank Thomas was. Man that dude could hit!

      • Brian Schwartz says:

        But those home runs are the only advantage Thomas has over Edgar, who has a big advantage in defensive value when they did play in the field. Thomas also played in a better hitters’ park. WAR is not everything, but Edgar winds up with 68.3 bWAR in 2022 games, compared to 73.7 for Thomas in 2322 games. I still tend to think career length is the main difference.

        • invitro says:

          Another advantage that Frank has: HE HAS HIS OWN PINBALL MACHINE. (Frank Thomas’ Big Hurt, made by Premier in 1995. Not a great table, but a pretty good one. The only other 1990’s athlete with his own full-production pinball machine is Shaq. There haven’t been any since those two.)

    • Karyn says:

      Looking at their career stats, Thomas has 220 more hits than Martinez, and 200 and change more HRs than Edgar. As a thought experiment, what would happen if you just dumped 200 more PAs, ABs, and HRs to Edgar’s career line? His BA jumps up to .330, of course, but the ripple effects would make other stats look a lot closer to Thomas’s.

      • invitro says:

        Well… adding 200 HR’s will do that, you know.

        • Karyn says:

          That’s sort of my point–that Frank Thomas was 200 goddamm home runs better than Edgar Martinez. Not just a few points of OPS here, or a few RBI there. But an entire 200 goddamm home runs.

          • Crazy Diamond says:

            You say the “g. d.” word too much. We get it. If you can’t show emphasis without profanity, you’re being both intellectually and literarily lazy. Cmon, Karyn, you’re a great poster. Do better =)

          • invitro says:

            Ok, sorry, I wasn’t following you. But Frank is close to being Edgar plus 200 HR, well also plus 1300 PA of other stuff, and minus somewhere around 10 wins of fielding prowess. (And to Syd, “Lighten up, Francis.”)

          • Karyn says:

            That’s probably the two times I’ve ever used it here. It’s awfully mild profanity, and I used it purposefully, for effect.
            I can show emphasis without profanity; I chose not to in this instance. I’m not going to accept your exhortations to ‘do better’ because some mild profanity makes you uncomfortable. Quit clutching your pearls.

          • Crazy Diamond says:

            Karyn: your “mild profanity” was banned on TV for the better part of 50 years, banned on radio for close to a century, and generally avoided by the American literary press for about 3 centuries now. So I think you’re out of touch with reality in labeling it “mild.”

            Also, you get 100 bonus points for using a big word like “exhortations.” You’re so smart. No really, you’re downright perspicacious!

          • invitro says:

            Syd, if you think “exhortations” is a big word, you must not have graduated eighth grade yet. It’s surprising, as I thought you had at least a ninth grade education. And as to your humorous obsession with this word, here’s a pro tip: “Goddamn it Francis, lighten the goddamn hell up!”

          • Crazy Diamond says:

            Invitro: are you and Karyn the same person? Or do you just share one brain? Either way, you’re both “simple.”

          • Karyn says:

            Crazy Diamond: Get lost.

  25. Crazy Diamond says:

    I don’t like David Ortiz, but these TurboTax commercials of him smashing tennis balls are hilarious.

  26. John Autin says:

    It’s always worth seeing where a player would rate among current HOFers. So … If Edgar were elected, he would be the 30th modern HOFer who played mostly 1B,3B or DH. He would rank no worse than 20th in that group in the following:
    Times On Base, 15th
    Total Bases, 20th
    Extra-Base Hits, 13th
    Home Runs, 16th
    RBI, 20th
    Runs, 17th
    Runs+RBI, 17th
    Hits, 18th
    BA, 10th
    OBP, 4th
    SLG, 8th
    OPS, 6th
    OPS+, 6th (tie)
    WAR (B-R method), 13th (tie)
    Wins Above Average, 11th
    Some may think there should be fewer than 30 HOFers at these positions. But based on who’s already in, Edgar clearly belongs.

  27. MikeN says:

    Who is Double X? The only thing I can think of is Zinedane Zidane.

  28. Gordo says:

    Jimmy FoXX

  29. Kevin Smyth says:

    I’ve lived in Seattle and been a baseball fan all my life-the Rainiers, the Pilots, the Mariners. There is no Seattle ballplayer I’ve admired more than Edgar Martinez. Every city has their heroes, guys they hope to see in Cooperstown. In Seattle it was Junior and Edgar, and Randy before he left. But there is one achievement Edgar has that no other Hall of Famer, living or dead can claim. He hit the double that drove in Junior in the ’97 ALDS to beat the Yankees and likely saved baseball in Seattle. You can love your guys, wherever you are-Houston, Montreal, San Diego, wherever, but did your guy save baseball in your city? Edgar is a winner, and should be in Cooperstown.

  30. skip says:

    Major League Baseball named the DH award after him! Nothing else needs to be said.

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