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Why Edgar Martinez Deserves To Be In The Baseball Hall of Fame

Monday, January 12, 2015

 

Edgar Martinez via Wikimedia CC.

The road to Cooperstown has not been an easy one for former Seattle Mariners slugger Edgar Martinez. His Hall of Fame votes have dipped the last few years, and the fact that a player can only be on the ballot for 10 years warrants a bit of concern. But he could be getting a much needed shoutout from a former teammate of his to help boost his Hall of Fame appeal. 

Amid Randy Johnson’s obvious selection into the Baseball Hall of Fame, one can’t imagine what Seattle ball would’ve been like without the hitter who helped Johnson win games during his earlier years: one of the most prolific designated hitters of all time. And Johnson recognizes this as much as the next dominant pitcher. Just ask him. 

“The first person that comes to my mind was a teammate of mine for 9½ years and the greatest hitter I ever played with. I've faced a lot of Hall of Fame hitters, and my gosh, Edgar is the best hitter that I ever saw.” 

Quite the glowing review from one of the most dominant pitchers to ever play the game. But wait, it doesn’t end there, let’s hear what Pedro Martinez has to say about “Gar.” 

“The toughest guy I faced I think, with all due respect to all of the players in the league, has to be Edgar Martinez. He would make me throw at least 13 fastballs above 95 mph. I would be hard-breathing after that. Edgar was a guy who had the ability to foul off pitches, and it pissed me off when I had to throw 13 pitches to get a guy out.” 

How many hall of fame pitchers do we need to listen to before we start heating up the Hall of Fame conversation for Edgar? How about just one more mention from former New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

“The toughest, and thank God he retired - Edgar Martinez. Oh my God. I think every pitcher will say that, because this man was tough. Great man, though - respected the game, did what he had to do for his team. That’s what you appreciate about players, when a player come and do what is right for the game of baseball, for his team and teammates.”

Great, he’s tough, but does he have the numbers to back up all of these commanding pitchers’ opinions? He played 18 major league seasons compiling a career average of .312 and an on-base percentage of .418. During his entire career (all with the M’s) he amassed 2,247 hits, 309 home runs, and 1,261 RBI. He was never a power hitter, but a dependable player who battled each at-bat and got on base (just refer to Pedro Martinez). And let’s not forget the doubles, 514 to be exact. He was a student of hitting and devoted everything he had to perfecting the plate appearance. His numbers and opponents speak to that. 

Aside from the statistics, fans never read in the paper or heard rumors about involvement in any illegal performance-enhancing drugs. He was an honorable and loyal big leaguer who respected the game and the fans. So to see guys who disrespected the game like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens get a significant amount of votes over Edgar this year is frustrating, a straight-up waste of a precious vote. Not to mention the one dude who had the nerve to vote for Darin Erstad. I’m sorry, but what the heck was he thinking? No offense to Erstad and his solid career, but you might as well have handed that vote to a bottle of Tabasco sauce.

And for all the voters out there, please stop dwelling on the DH position as a sacrilegious addition to baseball. It’s been around since 1973! And the AL has to have one. Get over it. 

Edgar pioneered the position and was always a class act. Give respect where respect is overdue. 

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.

 

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