(Kelly’s Thoughts) Everyone here in the Pacific Northwest knows that Edgar Martinez belongs in the Hall of Fame. Will he ever get there I don’t know but I asked a friend of mine who is a big supporter of Edgar to write a little something on why he thinks he is a Hall of Famer.
By Aaron Urseth
Edgar Martinez, also known as Gar, Papi, and most commonly referred to only as Edgar, is regarded by his peers as one of the greatest hitters of all time, and yet he finds himself in Hall of Fame limbo. His name will appear on ballots for the sixth time since he became eligible for the Hall, and the odds of him making the cut this year seem perhaps slimmer than ever. After all, in 2014 he only received 25.2 percent of the votes. Edgar Martinez should already be in the Hall of Fame, and the fact he won’t be any time soon is simply a travesty.
Over his career, Edgar posted a slash line of .312/.418/.515, he was a seven time All-Star, five time Silver Slugger, had a 164 OPS+, and to top if all off, the yearly award given to the best designated hitter is named after him. He had one of the purest and most beautiful right-handed swings ever seen. His career WAR was 68.3, which is higher than the likes of Hall of Famers such as Ernie Banks, Roberto Alomar, and soon to be Craig Biggio (just to name a few), and only 5.4 points lower than Frank Thomas – another player who played more than half his time at DH. With credentials like these, it is hard to understand why Edgar has still not been inducted.
Of course, Edgar does have his downfalls. The first thing any of his detractors will point out is the obvious fact that he played over 65 percent of his innings as a designated hitter. Their claim is that DHs do not play both sides of the ball, and therefore, do not contribute as much as regular position players. Also, recently, he has a gauntlet of top-tier, first-ballot caliber players standing between him and the 75 percent of votes necessary to gain entry into the Hall of Fame. Lastly, his percentage of the vote has been trending downward for the last three years. None of these factors are Edgar’s fault though, nor should they be a reason for him not to be inducted this next year.
Yes, Edgar was primarily a DH, but if relief pitchers are gaining entrance into the Hall of Fame how can anyone justifiably argue not voting for Edgar as well? A relief pitcher is to a starting pitcher as a DH is to a position player. Both play the game fractionally compared to their full-time counterparts, but that should never be a reason to keep either out of the Hall. The Hall of Fame is meant to honor the best of the best, and Edgar was the best DH of his era, if not of all time. As for the crowded ballot, it is not so crowded that voters should not be able find room for Edgar on their ballots. Voters can vote for up to 10 players each year, and aside from the obvious first ballot players like Smoltz, Johnson, and Pedro, there aren’t seven other players eligible in 2015 more deserving than Edgar.
Based purely on the significance of Edgar’s career, he should be in the Hall of Fame by now. His numbers consistently rank in the top 100 of all time, every player he shared the field with considers him one of the greats, and his exploits in the Pacific Northwest are second only to another all-time great. Edgar should be in the Hall of Fame. He should be inducted this next year alongside former teammate Randy Johnson, and he should be the first player to ever don a Mariners’ cap on his plaque. He deserves it.