Edgar for Eternity

marc w · January 22, 2019 at 11:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Edgar Martinez is going to Cooperstown. I’m early with this; I don’t know the final ballot total, and I’m writing this days before the announcement. But the vote trend this year is striking, and there’s essentially no way he can fail to reach 75% of the vote at this point. I’m on record as saying that Edgar would eventually get in, but only because of a veteran’s committee or whatever they replace it with. The early years of Edgar’s candidacy showed a bit of promise, but also just how daunting the task would be: Edgar would need to change the mind of around half of the voters.

Of course, he didn’t have to change their mind – he had to wait for a chunk of the voters to age out and be replaced with a more congenial set, a group who didn’t balk at the prospect of a DH in the hall. Still, there were two major factors that helped Edgar’s vote total rise. The first was that the anti-DH crowd faded when faced with Frank Thomas and the looming candidacy of David Ortiz. The increasing use of advanced stats helped show that Edgar and Thomas’ OBP translated into considerable value, but I think when people had to pick between keeping DHs out and keeping Big Papi/the Big Hurt out, they got over their objections (as they should).

Even more important was the rise of social media in these debates. Many of you may remember the first blog-based candidacy – that of Bert Blyleven, championed by Rich Lederer at the Baseball Analysts, and how Blyleven’s votes grew as people engaged with Lederer’s arguments and counter-arguments. It wasn’t about building a coalition of fans to support the candidate – it was that Lederer’s arguments were being bandied about by the voters themselves. The same thing happened a few years later with Tim Raines, and by that time, Ryan Thibodaux was collecting and publishing the ballots as they were tweeted out by voters. It’s this last advance that let blogs and fans tailor their arguments to on-the-fence voters and use Twitter to win over holdouts. Kate Preusser’s encomiums to Edgar weren’t just great pieces of writing, they were picked up by MLB Network, who’d use them to make a case directly to “no” voters and shame them when they couldn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Watching Edgar in his prime was an absolute joy, and it’s wonderful for M’s fans to celebrate a player like this, one who spent his entire career in an M’s uniform, who never asked to be traded, was never accused of quitting on a season, and who never became, in the minds of crazed fans, the embodiment of greed. He gave back to the team that had kept him in the minors far too long, and whose public persona and record has always been that of a genuinely nice person. This is a bit of unalloyed good news, and if it’s been delayed for too long, at least it arrived. Congratulations, Edgar.


9 Responses to “Edgar for Eternity”

  1. RoninX on January 22nd, 2019 11:49 am

    Early congratulations to Edgar. Obviously overdue, but I’m thrilled that he’s getting there (now over 90% on public ballots). He signed my t-shirt once outside an Eagle Hardware and seemed to be genuinely delighted to be sitting there behind a cheap table in the sun exchanging a few words with fans.

  2. Westside guy on January 22nd, 2019 3:33 pm

    Ed-gar! Ed-gar! Ed-gar! Ed-gar! Ed-gar!

  3. MKT on January 22nd, 2019 3:33 pm

    And huzzah, he is in! Or will be after the official induction. Absolutely very well deserved.

    The Seattle Times had a nice article a couple of days ago about the years-long efforts of fans who have been leading the Edgar-for-the-HoF movement.

  4. heyoka on January 22nd, 2019 7:09 pm

    β€œIt’s a light bat.”

    A true professional. It was a pleasure to see his approach.

  5. mksh21 on January 23rd, 2019 11:38 am

    I will be attending this as Im only 2.5 hours away and pissed I missed Griffeys due to a prior commitment. My brother loved Halladay and will fly in to Western NY (from Denver) and we will both go. Can’t wait, I didn’t think he would ever get in through the normal voting process.. especially after they chopped 5 years of his possible tenure on the ballot. Great GREAT day!

    Favorite all-time Mariner hands down.

    Postponing my Ichiro plans once more year into the future as he will be on the MLB roster to start 2019 lol.

  6. Longgeorge1 on January 23rd, 2019 12:22 pm

    The DOUBLE – Came just a few days after I buried my father. I needed something. Thanks Edgar!!

  7. mrakbaseball on January 23rd, 2019 8:44 pm

    I’m obviously thrilled for Edgar for finally being voted into Cooperstown, but part of me is disappointed that once again he is being overshadowed by another overwhelming force. During his playing career he played in the shadow of Junior, the Big Unit, A-Rod and Ichiro, even Lou probably had a higher profile those years and he’s been overshadowed by being in the same HOF class as Mariano. Oh well, he finally made it!

  8. Westside guy on January 24th, 2019 1:14 am

    @mrakbaseball – I have been reading a lot, though, about Edgar’s dominance against Rivera… even in the national media.

    Against Rivera, Edgar went 11-for-19 with three doubles and two home runs! Small sample size be damned.

    The other 19 Hall of Famers who faced Rivera hit a cumulative .236 with a .335 slugging percentage – and three home runs total.

    (a tip of the cap to northjersey.com for the stats)

  9. Alec on January 24th, 2019 10:35 am

    @mrakbaseball – I’m actually happy he’s going in with Mo. Rivera famously could not get him out and has mentioned that Edgar was by far his least favorite player to pitch to several times. I think it’s awesome that the first ever unanimous HOFer (ignoring the fact that he shouldn’t have been the first given the others already in the Hall) is going in with the one guy he’d least like to face.

    I’m also hoping it leads to Rivera mentioning it in his speech.

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