MLB Hall of Fame 2011: Edgar Martinez and 10 DHs Who Deserve to Get In
Edgar Martinez has a street named after him, no one has adorned Number 11 for the Mariners since his departure and he is sitting on Hall of Fame Ballots. Does he belong in the Hall? He has impressive numbers. Major League Baseball allowed the DH rule in to the American League in 1976 when Ron Blomberg walked in Fenway Park in 1976. Martinez, in terms, of statistics ranks 3rd in the running for the top 10 Designated Hitters. What about these guys? More on Edgar Later.
Frank Thomas "The Big Hurt"
Arguably the greatest hitter in White Sox history, Frank Thomas produced stellar numbers immediately after setting up shop in the middle of the 1990 season. For seven seasons in a row, the huge right-handed first baseman hit .300, scored 100 runs, drove in 100 runs, and walked 100 times. The first player to do so. He won the 1993 American League Most Valuable Player Award, and repeated the following year. After he turned 30, injuries robbed him of his productivity, and by the time he was 34, he was a DH and part-time player. Do we then disqualify "The Big Hurt" due to the downside of not being an everyday player? He completed his career with 521 Home Runs, a .301 Batting Average, and 1704 RBI's, Hall of Fame numbers for a very valuable team player and a DH in the twilight of his career.
Harold Baines was a beloved player in Chicago White Sox history. Baines spent 14 seasons with White Sox in three stints with the South Side Hitmen Baines career should be asterisked for robbery. There were work stoppages creating a career void of one full season due to strikes. This left Baines 134 hits shy of the apparent required 3,000 mark. Baines had near 1600 games as a DH. He has a ballot battle based on that fact. Baines numbers lifetime are: 234 Home Runs, .306 Avg., 1307 RBI's. in 2, 683 games.
A designated hitter since 1995, Martinez took time too concentrate on his swing and earning All-Star selections five times in that capacity. Martinez retired in 2004 as the Mariners' all-time leader in hits (2866), total bases (3718), extra-base hits (877) and batting average (.312). In the event he gets the nod you can no longer use the DH to hinder other entries into the hall.
Always that proverbial smile and lethal bat David Ortiz nearly became the first DH to win the MVP in 2005 losing to Alex Rodriguez by a glove. As a free agent signed by the Red Sox he, in his first three years respectively he delivered 31, 41, and 47 homers, and his RBI totals were 101, 139, and 148. His post season antics have rendered him heroic in Fenway Park and on the road for the Red Sock Nation. He is not done yet.
Jim Thome's numbers make him part of an elite crew and considerate of the Hall upon his retirement. Having 541 Homers and 1, 488 RBI's and that potent Walk, Homer, or strike out bat. He is 13th in the rankings of all time first baseman. Does his twilight years as a DH detract from a Hall of Fame Career? He has just begun to fill the role of full time DH with only 660 of his 2300+ career games. The DH slot being available does extend your career but aging also adds decline. So as Thome continues to play he faces decline in ability. He also does not fair well in MVP voting, strikes out an awful lot, and his defense could be considered average. He is an HOF dilemma with viable arguments about his admission to the Hall of Fame being by ballot or by paid ticket.
Hal McCrae played the better part of 19 seasons in Major League Baseball. He became the first player to make a career out of being a full-time designated hitter, and retired with nearly every record for that position. McCrae finished in the top 10 in batting 5 times in his career. His statistics at retirement are HOF door knocking. He played in 2084 games, had 2081 hits, 191 home runs, and a .290 average:
Upon his trade to the Angels in 1977, Downing,became a reliable catcher, and then, a fan favorite bopper as an outfielder/DH Downing played regularly until he was 41 years old. He set several career records for the Angels and was one of their most popular players. His numbers may not be HOF but is he that different from Gary Carter or is the DH the difference? Downing finished with 275 Home Runs, 1.073 RBI's and an average of .267.
Chili Davis spent the latter part of his career as a DH. He won a Silver Slugger Award at that position three times. He won World Series rings with both the Twins and Yankees. A switch hitter; he retired with more home runs than any other switch hitter besides Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray. He has an unusual record in that he drove in 112 runs in 1993 the most without a sacrifice fly. His career numbers do stack up against other Hall of Famers. Davis had 350 homers, 1, 372 RBI's, and a .274 batting average. Davis played for 21 years.
Don Baylor played as an Outfielder-DH for the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland A's, California Angels, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins. He had a 19-season (1970-88) major league career. His total final career statistics are .260 avg., 338 HR, 1,276 RBI. He became many teams insurance policy as a solid bat off the bench.
Dave Parker played for 18 years and into his forties due to his batting ability and the DH position. He played for Oakland A's, Milwaukee Brewers, California Angels, Toronto Blue Jays in the American League. His final career statistics were .290 avg, 339 HR, 1,493 RBI's.