Daily Ace Report
Good morning all,
Let's talk a little bit about future Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez. I say future Hall of Famer, because that is what he is—he is not quite getting the necessary support yet, but he will. He will when voters open their eyes to the facts, some of which I will dive into here.
So why isn't he getting the support necessary in the first place? There are a few reasons. First and foremost, there is a stigma of being a designate hitter—mind you, I despise the position of designate hitter and believe that National League baseball is the only pure form of baseball, but the designated hitter has been a part of the American League since 1973 and it cannot and should not be ignored.
There are already two designated hitters in the Hall of Fame, Frank Thomas and Paul Molitor. Thomas, who played the majority of his career games as a designated hitter and Molitor who was a bit less than half. So why them and not Edgar? Well Thomas and Molitor reached the arbitrary benchmarks of 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, respectively. Molitor and Thomas both edge Edgar in career WAR, with Molitor at 75.4, Thomas at 73.7, and Edgar at 68.3. But, Gar edges both in WAR per 162 games played, with Edgar at 5.38, Thomas at 5.14, and Molitor at 4.55. Overall, Thomas was probably a better hitter than Martinez, but The Big Hurt was a better hitter than all but about two dozen players in history, and Martinez far out-produced Paul Molitor.
Taking a look at some other key numbers we can note how much close Edgar actually was to Thomas the Molitor:
Frank Thomas - .301/.419/.555 (156 OPS+), 154 wRC+, .416 wOBA
Paul Molitor - .306/.369/.448 (122 OPS+), 122 wRC+, .361 wOBA
Edgar Martinez - .312/.418/.515 (147 OPS+), 147 wRC+, .405 wOBA
So Martinez was a specialist and a master of his craft. And yet, being a designated hitter hurts his chances at the Hall of Fame? What about Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, and Bruce Sutter? All Hall of Famers, all ninth inning specialists. How about Mariano Rivera, who will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2019? Rivera and Edgar share something in common and that is they are each the greatest of all-time at their particular specialty. There is a reason it is called the Edgar Martinez Award and the Mariano Rivera Award. Edgar had 8,674 career plate appearances and 4,829⅓ career innings in the field, while Rivera had 5,103 career batters faced and 1,283⅔ career innings in the field.
Fun fact: Rivera said that Martinez was the best hitter he had ever faced. Edgar faced the greatest relief-hurler of all-time 23 times in his career, batting .579/.652/1.053 against him.
Now I know some ears perked up in Boston when I said that Edgar is the greatest of all-time at his particular specialty—designated hitter. And not to take anything away from David Ortiz—who is a future Hall of Famer himself—but Edgar was the far better batsman and producer. Sure, Big Papi has one of the finest postseason resumes in baseball history, but postseason performance cannot and should not make—sorry Maz—or break a player’s Hall of Fame chances.
So why is Edgar better? You will learn by the numbers I will teach you:
In terms of career WAR, one full season (162 games) played by Edgar Martinez is worth 234 played by David Ortiz.
David Ortiz had just one season (2007) in which he equaled each leg of Edgar Martinez’s CAREER slash-line.
Ortiz would have to opt out of retirement, return to baseball in 2017, and reach base safely in 664-of-664 plate appearances to pass Edgar in career on-base percentage.
David Ortiz - .286/.380/.552 (141 OPS+), 55.4 WAR, 140 wRC+, .392 wOBA
Edgar Martinez - .312/.418/.515 (147 OPS+), 68.3 WAR, 147 wRC+, 405 wOBA
Moreover, it is probably more than fair to say that playing in market Boston is more conducive to gaining notoriety for a player like David Ortiz or Edgar Martinez than playing in Seattle.
By the numbers Edgar Martinez should be garnering more notoriety, support, and votes than what he has been getting.
And how about the number of defensive liabilities in the Hall of Fame? Guys who HURT their team by taking the field like Willie Stargell, Harmon Killebrew, or even Ted Williams, not to mention the greatest defensive liability of all-time, 2020 first-ballot Hall of Famer Derek Jeter. Whereas Edgar helped his team by not—not because he was even a poor defensive player, but it because it ensured that he would stay healthy and his bat would stay in the lineup.
Again, Edgar Martinez batted .312/.418/.515 during his career. Here is a complete list of players to best each leg of his slash-line for their career: Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth, Shoeless Joe Jackson, and Dan Brouthers. All Hall of Famers, except for Jackson—who is still wrongfully banned from baseball—are in the Hall of Fame.
Martinez is one of just 12 players in baseball history with a career on-base percentage of .415 or better and at least 830 extra-base hits. The others are: Frank Thomas, Barry Bonds, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Ted Willaims, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Tris Speaker. Again, note: all, but Bonds—who is blacklisted by many Hall of Fame votrers—are enshrined. Not enough? Among the top-17 players all-time in on-base percentage with at least 7,000 career plate appearances, there are just two players without a plaque in Cooperstown: Barry Bonds (5th) and Edgar (14th).
Edgar Martinez is a future Hall of Famer, by any measure. I implore you to vote Edgar and spread the word!
117 days until Opening Day.
Thank you all for subscribing,
Ryan M. Spaeder
Fact of the Day: Edgar Martinez was a late-bloomer, clubbing 264 home runs with 1,057 RBI after turning 30 years old. He reached base safely 2,369 times in his 30s, for a .4360 on-base percentage—edging Ty Cobb in his 30s (2,341 times safely on base and .4357 on-base percentage). Only 13 players in baseball history have a better career on-base percentage that Edgar. One of them is Barry Bonds and the rest are all Hall of Famers. The three next players ranking below Edgar are also in the Hall of Fame.
Quote of the Day - "He had more than my number. He had my breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He got everything from me.” - Mariano Rivera (on Edgar Martinez)
Did you know? - Edgar Martinez is the only player in history with multiple seasons with at least 25 home runs, 50 doubles, and 100 walks. He did so in 1995 and 1996. In fact, his two are as many as every single Hall of Fame player has COMBINED (Gehrig and Musial each have one). David Ortiz was the last to accomplish this feat, doing so in 2007, aforementioned as the only season in which Big Papi equaled each leg of Edgar Martinez's career slash-line.
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Tim Raines is a Hall of Famer, and the Numbers Couldn't be More Convincing