Edgar takes a step in the right direction
By Shannon Drayer
While he was not voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame today, Edgar Martinez’s journey to induction took a step in the right direction as he saw his numbers jump from being included in 32.9 percent of the ballots last year to being named on 36.5 percent of them today. He is still a long way away from the 75 percent necessary for induction but it is important to see the numbers go in the right direction.
Barry Larkin, in his third year on the ballot, was the only player to be elected to the Hall of Fame from this year’s ballot, picking up 86 percent of the vote.
It was always expected that this would be a tough mountain for Martinez to climb. Despite being one of only 13 players in the history of the game to be a lifetime .300 hitter with a .400 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage, he has had to battle two issues in particular. One, he spent the majority of his career as a designated hitter. There are many voters who are very hesitant to vote a DH into the Hall of Fame because they believe they were part-time players. Never mind the fact that the Hall is full of players who were barely passable in the field, this is a prejudice that is tough to overcome.
He also has to battle lack of longevity in the game. Because of his late start, Martinez was not able to reach the 3,000-hit and 500-home run totals that traditionally voters have looked for.
What is in his favor is that he was the dominant player at his position while he played the game. Countless players and managers from when he played list him as one of the most feared hitters in the game. Those with firsthand experience against him count him as one of the best. Of course none of these men have a vote but they do have a voice and this, paired with improving knowledge of advanced statistics among voters, should help Martinez down the line. It will take time, however.
Next year will be interesting with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, and Curt Schilling being added to the ballot. In 2014 Gregg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Jeff Kent and Mike Mussina will be added.
It will be interesting to see how Edgar will fare against bigger classes of players that he played more games against. These groups will be more representative of the era in which Edgar played. How does he stack up against them?
For now, he takes a step in the right direction.