Each year there is a debate as to who should and should not be voted into the Hall of Fame. Everyone who is connected to baseball, whether as a fan, baseball writer, player, or coach, has their opinion. Recently I discussed my thoughts about what the Hall of Fame regarding the Steroid Era, but today I want to focus on two specific players that I strongly believe belong in the Hall of Fame.
First off, here is my personal criteria that I use to determine if a player should be in the Hall of Fame. I believe a Hall of Famer is someone who was a dominate player at their position for a decade or more. This helps to eliminate a lot of guys who have three of four great seasons but overall their careers were just average.
When Trevor Hoffman broke the all time saves record do you know who held that record? I know most people would say Dennis Eckersley but that would be incorrect. It was Lee Smith who has 478 career saves. Only Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera have more saves all time. There are only 5 players in the history of baseball that have 400 or more career saves.
Lee Smith was a 7 time all star; was voted in the top 10 for the Cy Young Award four times and was in the top 5 in three of those votes. He was even in the top 25 for MVP voting four times.
Four times he led either the NL or the AL in saves, was second in saves four times and was in the top 10 for saves totals for 14 consecutive seasons from 1982 to 1995.
Now I know I am a little bias because I’ve met Lee Smith a number of times and really think he is a fun guy, but even with that set aside he has the numbers to make the Hall of Fame.
Do you know what the award for the best DH in the league is called? It’s the Edgar Martinez Award. I don’t know about what you think but to me if you have an award named after you for being the best at your position for a full season then you might just be worthy of making the Hall of Fame. Could you imagine Cy Young not being a member of the Hall of Fame and yet having the award for the best pitcher named after him? I sure couldn’t.
There is more than just an award named after Edgar to make me think that he is worthy of the Hall of Fame. Edgar was a 7 time all star and was awarded the Silver Slugger award 5 times.
If you take his average stats over a 162 game stretch he averaged a .312 batting average, 99 RBIs, 177 hits, 96 runs, 41 doubles and 24 HRs. That isn’t just one season that is his 162 game average over his career.
Paul Molitor who is in the Hall of Fame had a 162 game average of .306 batting average, 79 RBIs, 200 hits, 108 runs, 37 doubles and 14 HRs. When you look at things this way it really shows just how good Edgar was.
There are a lot of players that you could make an argument for being in the Hall of Fame but these two players stand out in my mind as being two very deserving candidates for the Hall of Fame.