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Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

January 7, 2010 at 12:44 PM

A few Martinez voters (and non-voters) explain themselves

edgarwaves.jpg

For those who missed it, here’s Geoff and I debating our Edgar Martinez Hall of Fame votes.

No, actually, here’s our pro and con points of view.

In the past week, I e-mailed several voting colleagues in the Baseball Writers Association of America to get their take on Edgar and Cooperstown. Here are some of the responses I received, followed by a couple of articles advocating against Martinez, to give a fair cross-section of opinions. First, the e-mails:

Bernie Miklasz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “I voted for Edgar. I used some sabermetric analysis to reaffirm what I already believed: he created a lot of runs and was of tremendous value to the Mariners.

Gordon Edes, ESPN Boston: “Yes, I voted for Edgar, because I knew someday I’d have to answer to you. Seriously, the DH cannot be held against Edgar’s candidacy. I n the AL, they play with a DH, a DH is an integral–in many cases, critical–component of a team winning, and Edgar was arguably the best ever at his position: first in BA, OBP, OPS, 2B and RBI among all DHs. You probably know this one by heart, but a stat dug up for us by the crack ESPN research team: Edgar Martinez is one of 20 players with a career batting average of .300+, a career on-base percentage of .400+, and a career on-base percentage of .500+. Twelve of those players were Hall of Fame eligible and 11 are in the Hall of Fame. The only one who isn’t is Lefty O’Doul (played 1919-1934).

He has 11 seasons with an OBP of .400 or better: The only guys with more are Barry Bonds and 10 Hall of Famers.

And finally, he hit The Double, which pretty much saved baseball in the Northwest. Ain’t that a Hall-worthy decider for anybody sitting on the fence?”

Murray Chass, MurrayChass.com (formerly New York Times): “I did not vote for him after extensive study and deliberation, but I think I came closer to voting for him without voting for him than I ever have with any other candidate. If he doesn’t make it Wednesday, I will consider him seriously next year.”

Ross Newhan, lifetime member (formerly Los Angeles Times): “There is no use denying that the DH is an important part of the game.We have recently elected two players who spent a significant phase of their final years as a DH, running up their stats–Eddie Murray and Paul Molitor. I voted for both, and I voted for Martinez. His overall statistics are deserving, and he conducted himself with integrity and dignity. He spent more of his career as a DH than Molitor and Murray, but I donĀ“`t believe that diminishes his accomplishments.”

Barry Bloom, MLB com: “I voted for Edgar (along with McGriff and Alomar among the first timers) and here’s what I wrote about Martinez in my blog about my 2010 ballot:

“Edgar’s accomplishments [shouldn’t] be shrouded by the fact that he was a true designated hitter throughout most of his career. He played in Seattle and the American League utilizes that rule. That’s the way his managers chose to use him. He’s a .312 lifetime hitter with 2,247 hits, 309 homers, 1,261 RBIs, a .418 on-base percentage and a.515 slugging percentage. Let’s look at the numbers, not his position. That’s what I went by.”

Mel Antonen, USA Today: “I voted for Edgar Martinez. I don’t know if he was the best designated hitter, but he definitely defines the position and he’s one of the best. Think DH and Martinez is one name that comes up. I don’t buy any of the part-time (player) theories that some will hold against him. He has the stats and defines the Mariners’ franchise, a big intangible for me as a voter.”

Bill Madden, New York Daily News: “I voted for Edgar because in my opinion he was the best righthanded hitter in the game for nearly 15 years and possibly the best righthanded hitter I ever saw (steroids cheats excluded).”

Scott Miller, CBS Sportsline: No, I did not vote for Edgar. He’s very, very close but, for me, if I’m going to vote for a full time DH who played very little in the field during his career, his numbers have to be astronomical. And Edgar’s 2,247 hits and 309 homers just aren’t high enough for a guy who didn’t contribute defensively and wasn’t a threat on the bases. And I don’t mean this to sound overly critical, because there’s no question Edgar was one of the most dominant bats during his time, but his postseason numbers aren’t overly impressive, either. To me, a borderline HOF guy can cross the threshhold with October feats, such as what Kirby Puckett did for the Twins.”

Now here are two articles:

From Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe.

From Danny Knobler of CBS Sportsline.

As I wrote yesterday, I think Edgar has positioned himself fairly well to rise to 75 percent, but it’s going to take some annual persuasion — and open-mindedness from his detractors — to make it happen.

(Photo by Associated Press, from Edgar Martinez Day, October, 2004)

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