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Edgar Martinez had a bad weekend

Apr 4, 2011, 10:30 AM EDT

Edgar Martinez

Well, I’m sure he’s fine, but he watched as two of his marks were surpassed on Saturday.

First, David Ortiz set the major league record for RBIs by a designated hitter, passing Martinez’s mark of 1,003. Then, later that night, Ichiro Suzuki broke Edgar Martinez’s franchise record for career hits, notching his 2,248th hit in a Mariners uniform.

Both were a foregone conclusion, of course, but the Ortiz mark is one that probably has more significance from a legacy perspective for Martinez.  His Hall of Fame case has been premised on  the notion that he is the best DH ever.  I still think that’s the case, but if Ortiz doesn’t slow down, he’ll likely take that title, either on the merits or in the popular consciousness.  Given that Martinez’s Hall of Fame vote was surprisingly anemic in his first year on the ballot — 32.9% — methinks it bodes ill for his future chances.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Apr 4, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    It wouldn’t be as bad of a slight if they didn’t just vote Andre Dawson in with his .279/.323/.482/.806 line while Edgar gets 33% with a .312/.418/.515/.933 line. A guy with 8700 plate appearances and a .418 career OBP should be a lock hall of famer, I don’t care whether he pinch hit his whole career or DH’d or committed 3,000 errors.

  2. BC - Apr 4, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    Hmm. Would of thought someone like Dave Winfield or Don Baylor would have had the DH RBI mark.
    Edgar should get in. I mean, Paul Molitor spent 2/3 of his career as a DH and got in.

    • nps6724 - Apr 4, 2011 at 11:25 AM

      Winfield didn’t play DH enough (419 games) to come close to the DH RBI mark.

      Molitor spent a little less than his career as a DH (1171 games as DH, 1489 at other positions). He also got into the top ten in multiple offensive categories more often than Edgar. And Molitor did a few things Edgar didn’t: 600 2B and the big one, 3000 hits.

  3. nps6724 - Apr 4, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    As much as I like Edgar, if a guy is going to be *only* a hitter, he needs to do better than 2200 hits and 300 HR. He was a great hitter and if he had played a position besides DH, even if his defense was terrible he’d have a much better HOF shot. But only once was he ever arguably the best hitter in a given season (’95 – led MLB in runs, 2B, BA, OBP, and OPS). His hitting wasn’t great enough to offset his one-dimensional game.

    If a DH ever makes it in, he should be the first one.

    • Lukehart80 - Apr 4, 2011 at 11:21 AM

      Baseball decided that the DH was a valid position and part of the team (in the AL, anyway). It’s a starting role on the team. Why would “terrible” defense at 1B or in LF add to the value Martinez (or any other player) provided???

      • nps6724 - Apr 4, 2011 at 11:23 AM

        It wouldn’t add any actual value, but it would add value to his name as a guy who isn’t one-dimensional. I guess baseball’s thinking is akin to it’s better to try and fail than to never try at all.

        I’m not saying I agree with that thought process, but that’s the perception.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Apr 4, 2011 at 11:48 AM

      “His hitting wasn’t great enough to offset his one-dimensional game.”

      I couldn’t disagree more. Why is total # of hits what makes a “hitter”? (Damn, that sounded downright SABR-metric)

      Look, I think the guy should be in the HoF for one simple stat…forget BABIP, xFIP, HRs, RBI, blah blah blah. He went to the plate 8,700 times, which is around 15 seasons. He got on base almost 42% of the time. Think about that…every 5 times to the plate, he got on 2+ times. That is good enough for 22nd ALL TIME. Ahead of scrubs like Stan Musual and Jackie Robinson.

      • nps6724 - Apr 4, 2011 at 12:16 PM

        It wasn’t great enough according to what the HOF considers meaningful stats. I personally would’ve voted for Edgar, but most of these decisions are based on hits, BA, HR, and RBI. Until that changes, guys like Edgar will get the shaft.

    • Joe - Apr 4, 2011 at 11:51 AM

      Joe Posnanski is usually pretty astute in the way he breaks things down, and he addressed this during the HOF vote season. His thinking is that there are plenty of pretty bad fielders in the HOF because of their bats. The only reason Edgar was a DH for so much of his career was because it was available to him. If there was no DH rule, he would have played defense just like, say, Harmon Killebrew.

      And one of the reasons that Martinez had “only” 2,200 hits was because he drew so darn many walks. Compare him to Jim Rice, a guy with little defensive value who is in the HOF for his bat: Jim Ed had 205 more hits than Edgar, 2,452 to 2,247. But Edgar actually got on base 400 more times – 3,530 to 3,122 (hits and walks only), despite Rice having almost 400 more career PAs. Martinez was a much better player than Rice, despite the 70-HR shortfall and the additional games as DH.

      • Detroit Michael - Apr 4, 2011 at 12:02 PM

        There are lots of folks who statistically have better Hall of Fame cases than Jim Rice who are not yet in the Hall.

  4. Detroit Michael - Apr 4, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    If one looks at something like wRC+ or OPS+ for seasons as a DH, you’ll quickly see that the best DH of all time really is Edgar Martinez. His name is all over that leaderboard. He should be in the Hall of Fame in my opinion.

  5. mgflolox - Apr 4, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    Actually, 32.9% isn’t that bad a showing in first year HOF voting. I don’t have the actual numbers, but I’d bet more than half of the players who start that high will eventually be elected. Edgar also has the benefit of being perceived as one of the “clean” players of his era and also of being one of the truly class acts in MLB. I think over time, these factors will eventually help him get elected. I firmly believe he is more than worthy.

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