David Schoenfield Nails It
With ballots due in just a few days, it’s probably too late to convince any voters to add Edgar Martinez to the list of guys offered a ticket to Cooperstown, but David Schoenfield penned a tremendous look at why he’s deserving anyway. It’s well written, logical, and hard to argue with.
For me, the key point in the article is the comparison to relief pitchers. The biggest argument against Martinez’s induction is that he spent most of his career as a Designated Hitter, which makes him less than a complete player in the eyes of some voters. There are those who have stated outright that they don’t feel a DH belongs in the hall, because they added no value in the field, and were only contributing value in a portion of the game.
However, those same voters continue to send relief pitchers to Cooperstown. Goose Gossage, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley, and Bruce Sutter all have plaques because of what they accomplished as specialist bullpen arms, pitching two to three innings at a time (at most), and racking up a counting statistic that requires them to only face three batters. Lee Smith got support from 45% of the voters a year ago. There is little doubt that active relievers such as Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman are going to end up in the Hall.
As Schoenfield notes, there is simply no way you can argue for a specialist pitcher and then exclude a specialist hitter. If you won’t put a DH in the Hall of Fame, you can’t put any closers in there either. And that’s not the standard that the Hall has set. Closers are in, so designated hitters have to be as well.
This is going to be the key issue on whether Edgar gets in or not. There’s no denying his contributions as a hitter. At the plate, he’s an inner circle Hall of Famer, one of the best right-handed hitters of all time. Those who would choose to not vote for him will do so on the basis of his status as a hitter-only. We should do as Schoenfield does here, and make them defend their stance in regards to relief pitchers as well. There’s no logical ground to stand on – once they admit that players who are great at a specific role are indeed induction worthy, then Edgar gets in.
Great job, David. We’ll be bringing this article back out of the archives every winter until Edgar gets elected.