Now that the Baseball Hall of Fame voting is done for this year we can begin to look at the candidacy of players for next year. I have been waiting for this time for five years, since Edgar Martinez retired from baseball as a member of the Seattle Mariners.
The Hall of Fame website lists the requirements for allowing a player to join the Hall of Fame:
"Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played." (baseballhalloffame.org)
As you can see, the honor of the Hall of Fame is more important than just statistical achievements, but I will begin by defending Edgar's candidacy using his statistical numbers
Through 18 full or partial seasons, Edgar had:
A .312 Batting Average
A .418 On Base Percentage
A .515 Slugging Percentage
Had 514 Doubles
Had 309 Home Runs
Had 2,247 Hits
Won five Silver Slugger Awards
Was elected to the All Star Game seven times
Finished in the top 16 of MVP voting five times
Many sports writers will attribute his low hit and home-run totals as reasons for not letting Edgar into the Hall of Fame, especially during a period when 300 home runs seems very low. However, there are other reasons to admit him into the hall of fame.
Integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team on which he played are all listed above as reasons to vote a player into the Hall of Fame, and what Edgar has in all of those categories is unbelievably amazing.
Edgar has never been accused of using steroids, and during a time known as the “steroid era,” his integrity and decision-making can be a statement to those who decided to use steroids to boost their performance.
In 2004, Edgar Martinez won the Roberto Clemente Award, which “recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team.” (MLB.com)
Aside from this award, Edgar is known to have “saved” baseball in Seattle by delivering the greatest highlight the Mariners have ever seen. Edgar had the single greatest postseason series in Seattle sports history against the New York Yankees in 1995, single-handedly winning the ALDS for the Mariners.
The award for the Best Designated hitter is called the Edgar Martinez award, to recognize that Martinez was the greatest DH of all time.
For his offensive stats, integrity, contribution to baseball, and saving the Seattle Mariners, Edgar Martinez deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Being a designated hitter should not keep a player out of the Hall of Fame, but the player should be about more than just the offense that he produced.
Edgar is close on stats alone, but along with his “integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to” his team he should be a lock for the Hall.