Edgar Martinez faces an uphill battle
By Shannon Drayer
For the eighth time in Hall of Fame history, no player received enough votes to gain entrance. Craig Biggio came closest to the 75 percent of the vote needed with his name on 68.2 percent of the ballots. As expected, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa fell extremely short with 37.6, 36.2 and 12.5 percent of the vote, respectively. It will be interesting to see what happens with this trio going forward, how many voters were making a statement on their views of the PED players by refusing to vote them in on the first ballot.
I gave my view on the PED issue earlier this week. Today I want to talk about Edgar Martinez and his candidacy. It was disappointing to see his numbers actually go down a tick. In 2012 he pulled 36.5 percent of the vote, seventh overall in the voting this year. Today he came in at 35.9 percent, good for 10th this year. More candidates and five empty ballots no doubt hurt his numbers. His road to the Hall remains steep.
Edgar has done his part on the field. What he needs now is for more voters to take a closer look at the numbers. The numbers are there, some spectacular. The most eye opening for me was a stat I got from Tony Blengino of the Mariners. Blengino keeps a private database dating back to 1901 of all players ranked by cumulative combined standard deviations above league average in on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Edgar ranks 28th all time on this list, in only 14 qualifying seasons. As a right-hander. Again, this stat is cumulative, it is not an average.
Among the 27 players ahead of him, only Albert Pujols has done so in fewer qualifying seasons. The only active players ranking ahead of Edgar would be Jim Thome (16th), Pujols (19th), and Alex Rodriguez (22nd). Ken Griffey Jr. ranks 46th, for comparison’s sake.
Many will argue that Edgar’s body of work was too small, his years of impact too few. Well, Edgar did more in those 14 years than most did with five seasons more.
I was discouraged to see a prominent baseball writer say this week that he didn’t vote for Edgar because in his view a player that was mainly a DH would need to put up better than 2,247 hits and 309 home runs. Never mind the damage he created with those hits. Never mind the outs he did not create.
The numbers won’t change. Hopefully with time there will be a better understanding of them.