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Edgar Martinez: Hall Of Fame Worthy?

By Brian Ailor

Edgar Martinez not only has one of the greatest baseball names to speak of, he was also a pretty good ball player. Edgar was one of the greatest right handed hitters of his generation. And that's saying a lot since he played in the steroid era. Tho naysayers would suggest that his stats pretty much define good but not great. You throw in the lack of defense he played and you have most Hall Of Fame voters leaning no when asked if he's Hall Of Fame worthy.

Edgar Martinez Career Numbers And His Overall Ranking:

Hits- 2247 (157th)
Doubles- 514 (116th)
HR- 309 (116th)
RBI- 1261 (116th)
AVE- .312 (96th)
Walks- 1283 (43rd)
Slug %- .515 (69th)
OBS (on base plus slugging)- .933 (35th)

Edgar Martinez Average Season Numbers Over 18 Years:

Runs- 96
Hits- 177
Doubles- 41
HR- 24
RBI- 99
Walks- 101
AVE- .312

Let us not forget that Edgar's career numbers would have been slightly higher if not for the lockout that kept all major leaguers out of action in 1994. The strike lasted from August 12, 1994 till April 2, 1995. That was Edgar's 8th season in the league.

I know what your saying... Those numbers are good but not HOF good. But if you look closer into the numbers Edgar is in some pretty elite company. Edgar joins such notables as Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musual, Lou Gehrig, Manny Ramirez, and Todd Helton as the only players in baseball history to have 300 homers, 500 doubles, a career batting average higher then .300, a career on-base percentage higher then .400, and a career slugging percentage higher then .500.

Edgar Martinez was so dominant at his position in fact that they named an award in his honor. The Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award has been presented annually to the most outstanding designated hitter in the American League since 1973. Originally know as just the Outstanding Designated Hitter Award, it was renamed in his honor following his retirement in 2004. Edgar was a five-time winner of the award during his career.

The designated hitter for those who may not know is an official position adopted by the American League in 1973 that allows teams to designate a player, know as the designated hitter (DH), to bat in place of the pitcher when he would otherwise have to bat.

Some might argue that if you're the best player ever at your position you should be elected into the hall no questions asked. You might even argue that a DH in the offensive version of a relief pitcher. Even then, only recently have the hall of fame voters been letting even the greatest of relief pitchers in. Only Goose Goosage, Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley, and Bruce Sutter have made it in. And all five of them have been elected since 1985.

Probably the best hope Edgar has is that Paul Molitor was elected in 2004. Molitor played a majority of his fine career as a DH himself. If it's been done before, why can't it be done again right?

I'll tell ya why... Despite his numbers, Edgar has one major issue that most voters will never get over. And that's that he just played the wrong position. The National League fans and, in particular, the voters just do not like the DH rule in the American League. They hate that rule even more then Luke Skywalker hates the darkside.

Those old fashion stick in the muds have nothing better to do then frown upon all the DH players. They can look past his numbers, his 7 all-star selections, and even his 5 silver slugger award just because they refuse to let a full time DH into the Hall Of Fame.

Judging by the fact that Edgar's voting percentage dropped from 36.2% his first year on the ballot to 32.9% this time around. Edgar has a long way to go before he reaches the 75% approval rating needed for enshrinement.

For Both Edgar's and Mariners' fans sakes, lets just hope that is the old fashion voter's way of trying to make us sweat it out and wait the maximum 15 years for his eventual acceptance as one of the games most elite players.

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