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HBT Daily: Should a DH make the Hall of Fame?

Jul 11, 2013, 1:30 PM EDT

David Ortiz set the record for hits by a DH last night. Is he — or any other DH — a Hall of Famer?

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  1. hojo20 - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    No, and neither should Craig Biggio.

    • daveitsgood - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:37 PM

      Well that completely stayed on topic there. How do you feel about Daryl Hall being in the Rock and Roll HOF? Should he be there without John Oates? Furthermore, should Craig Biggio make the Rock and Roll HOF?

      • baseballici0us - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        ditto….please copy & paste your comment in about 80% of the comments below because they went way off as well.

      • hojo20 - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:31 PM

        Nice one…..I figured I’d just jazz up my answer than a simple “no”. Best Hall & Oates tune: Maneater

    • dondada10 - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:55 PM


      3060 hits (21st most all-time)
      1844 runs (15th most all-time)
      688 doubles (5th all-time)

      Played three different positions (catcher, second base, outfield)

      Hall of Famer.

      • ntreat57 - Jul 11, 2013 at 2:35 PM

        5th all time in doubles but 1st by a right handed batter

      • wendell7 - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:14 PM

        If I remember correctly, he was thrown out by a mile at 2nd base trying to stretch his 3000th hit into a double.

      • hojo20 - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:28 PM

        Biggio was a stats compiler that just happened to stay healthy. HOF voters seemed to agree.

    • cohnjusack - Jul 11, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      Other than the obvious fact that Craig Biggio very obviously should be in the Hall of Fame, why bring up Biggio? Dude played a total of 20 games at DH out of 2800 in his career.

      I can understand saying “No, and neither should Edgar Martinez” or something. But this is just….strange.

  2. jarathen - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    He’s a borderline case that would need several more years of production to get there for me.

    Edgar Martinez should already be there.

    • dondada10 - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:59 PM

      You made me take a look at Edgar’s career numbers. .312/.418/.515 over his 18 year career. Very impressive.

      • 2077james - Jul 11, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        One of only 12 non-active players in baseball history to post a .310/.410/.510 line over a 4,000 plate-appearance career.

        I stole that from a Joe Pos article, one of several he’s written about Edgar’s strong HOF credentials.

  3. baseballici0us - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    I will watch this right now. But, if you say a DH should not make the HOF, I will bombard your twitter with Superman paraphernalia for a long, long, long time.

    *for about a minute until you block me…if you haven’t already :)

    • baseballici0us - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:50 PM

      bless your shiny little head…very well said.

  4. bmoreravens1012013 - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Absolutely not, especially when he’s was convicted of steroids.

    • cur68 - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      How long did Ortiz serve for his suspension, then? He WAS ‘convicted’ right? What’s a typical sentence for being in the Mitchell Report? Can he do community service? Is he ineligible for the draft? Can he still vote? Or something?

      • deathmonkey41 - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:59 PM

        Come on Cur- Mitchell was involved with the Red Sox- amazingly enough Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, and several others managed to stay off his list. They appeared on an earlier list of players that tested positive- which Big Papi didn’t cop to- he blamed it on tainted milkshakes he drank in the DR. Total class guy.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 11, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        That is more than Biggio or Bagwell, who should both get in before anyone even looks at Ortiz.

    • deathmonkey41 - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      Although I have no problem with a DH going into the HoF, how do you justify keeping guys like Bonds, McGuire, and Clemens out for suspicion of cheating, but not this guy?

  5. josemartez - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Great point about the relievers, Craig. I’m curious if Paul Molitor had been a DH his entire career if people would argue against his place in the HOF. He rightfully was elected in and I think both Ortiz and Edgar belong there as well.

  6. mreniigma - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Outside of pitchers, most Hall of Famers were elected or judged based on their performance at the dish more than any other factor. OF COURSE a DH should be elected into the Hall of Fame.

    • statslady - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:00 PM

      Which is the reason that it took BIll Mazeroski so long to be selected for the HOF. And it was wrong to do so.

  7. Glenn - Jul 11, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    I would guess that guys like Ted Williams, Harmon Killebrew, Babe Ruth in his second half, etc., would have been DHs. No HOF for them?

    • Utley's Hair - Jul 11, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      Not for DH. But they made it in actually playing the game.

  8. Cris E - Jul 11, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Wait, is this a DH question or a DO HoF question?

    There’s no good reason to keep DHs out as a group, but David Ortiz is not a Hall of Famer. You could say “yet”, but he’s old and already starting to lose time to injuries and ineffectiveness, so even if he puts together another 1000 good AB before the end the body of work isn’t going to improve enough to get him in.

    • drewsylvania - Jul 11, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      Interesting debate, to be sure. It kinda depends on what you think the Hall should be. The best statistical players of all time? The most famous players?

      They’re not always the same, certainly. Ortiz is famous, but his statistics do not make him a shoo-in. It’s kind of like Derek Jeter getting credit for being DEREK JETER, superhuman shortstop for the NEW YORK YANKEES. He’ll get a lot of votes because of that and the number 3000. But he was never good at shortstop.

      The formula for Hall chances seems to be: stats + heavy dose of perception/groupthink.

      • anthonyverna - Jul 11, 2013 at 4:00 PM

        See: Rizzuto, Phil.

  9. kane337 - Jul 11, 2013 at 2:01 PM


  10. coloradostupid - Jul 11, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Absolutely. DH’s play under the same rules of the game as any other player – just like a 1st baseman does. BTW, Ortiz IS also a 1st baseman. Do you disqualify the winner of the ALCS to play in the World Series, because the AL has the DH? I don’t think so.

  11. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 11, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    To ban all DH’s from entry is kind of like banning all AL pitchers. If a player is asked to do one thing, and he does it well, evaluate him on his merits. I think the hitting standard for a DH would need to be a bit higher, since there are few if any additional contributions, but if the hitting is good enough to warrant entry, the position should not be an automatic obstacle.

    Ortiz has logged some innings at 1B (and do I recall him somewhere else on the infield for some reason at some point least season??) when his team has needed him to do so. Let’s see what his numbers look like at the end of his career and see how he stacks up.

  12. dondada10 - Jul 11, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    An MVP would’ve helped Big Papi’s case.

    All PED accusations aside, use the “was this guy one of the best players in the league for a decade” measure to determine HOF credentials.

    His 2003-2007 were really good. Other than that, including this year, Ortiz looks more like a Hall of Very Good candidate.

    • jarathen - Jul 11, 2013 at 2:43 PM

      Harold Baines has a spot ready for him already.

  13. braddavery - Jul 11, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    Edgar Martinez and Harold Baines should be in the HOF, and Frank Thomas WILL be. Thomas played more at DH than in the field and most see him as a HOFer. Ortiz will never make it due to known PED use.

    • drewsylvania - Jul 11, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      Yeah, but some people will spin him as a first baseman, which will help themselves feel better when they vote him in. (Not that Thomas should not be in–he absolutely should be).

  14. gdobs227 - Jul 11, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    First off, I hate the DH rule. But as long as it’s here (and has been for 40 years), sure they should make the Hall if their numbers are good enough.

  15. ntreat57 - Jul 11, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Yes, a DH should be in the Hall of Fame. It may be a stupid position but it still is one. Should pitchers in the AL not get in for only playing half the game like the DH?

  16. ndrocks2 - Jul 11, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    Yes Ortiz, Martinez and probably others deserve consideration. Baseball let the “closer” in finally. The game needs to change to allow players in who DH, 40+ years and counting for the DH in AL.

    The DH is EVERYWHERE at every level of baseball but The NL. Now that interleague is played throughout the year the NL needs to adapt. When the NL teams play at Boston they “find” a DH for the series, the Bosox roll out Ortiz, who has the advantage?

  17. baddogjosie - Jul 11, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    If a closer can get elected to the HoF than so can/should a DH. They’re specialty roles, for sure, but if someone excels in that role enough to earn a place then so be it.

    • statslady - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:26 PM

      The way that closers are used has changed over the years. Goose Gossage pitched in 1002 games and started 37 of them. Dennis Eckersley spent half of his career as a starter, as did John Smoltz (who is not yet eligible). How may relievers have also thrown a no-hitter? Rollie Fingers also started 37 games, out of 944 played. Hoyt WIlhelm spent a large chunk of his career as a reliever. And Bruce Sutter never started a game in the major leagues.

      But all of the above are in the Hall, and they are there with no special rule and no special qualifications.

      As you said “so be it”.

  18. cohnjusack - Jul 11, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Yeah, but you need to be really, really fucking great. Edgar Martinez and Frank Thomas are the only two players who spent a majority of their career at DH that I think belong. Ortiz isn’t there yet. Obviously his career isn’t over, but right now, his offensive numbers are pretty comparable to Jim Edmonds…who also won 8 Gold Gloves as a center fielder and almost certainly will not get into the Hall of Fame (though I think he should).

    Ortiz still has a way to go. A DH needs to put up better numbers than a 1st baseman, who needs to have better numbers than a left fielder…and so on. It’s called the defensive spectrum and it goes a bit like this

  19. jayscarpa - Jul 11, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Is it better to play a position and play it badly? Plenty of those kind of guys in the Hall. If there has to be a DH they should be as eligible as anyone.

    • statslady - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:27 PM

      Name some of them.

  20. lawson1974 - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    If you transition into DH later in your career , sure. But if you never played in the field foe any significant time. No way. Its the great hitter museum. It is supposedly for the elite of the elite. To be that, you need to have at some point been able to field a position

    • statslady - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:32 PM

      If it’s “the great hitter museum”, then please explain the presence in that Roll, of 72 pitchers, 9 umpires, 19 managers and 33 executives.

      • lawson1974 - Jul 12, 2013 at 2:12 AM

        I meant to write its “not” the great hitters museum. Since my point was to be that it was tough for a DH to be the elite of the elite.

  21. statslady - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    The precedent has already been set. There is a DH in the Hall of Fame – Paul Molitor.

    Yes, you may see him as a third baseman (why not, Bill James does), but the HOF has him listed as a DH. Check their site.

    • lawson1974 - Jul 12, 2013 at 2:14 AM

      He would fit my theory of someone who transitioned into DH, but showed he could field a position first.

    • lawson1974 - Jul 12, 2013 at 2:17 AM

      He played more games in the field than he DH’ed. Admittedly barely, but that still meant about 11 years worth of fielding.

  22. Max Power - Jul 12, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    So the fourth place team in the NL West is out of it, so the division belongs to the second place team? A very gritty prediction!

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