The ballot for the 2010 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame was announced on Friday, and 26 players will be waiting on the phone call to join the most elite group in baseball.
Edgar Martinez is one of the 15 first-time players on the ballot, and he is certainly a unique case to consider.
Since he played the majority of his career as the designated hitter, a role that many voters will look down upon because it only encompasses one facet of the game, Martinez may face difficulties earning the 75 percent needed to be inducted.
However, commissioner Bud Selig said of Martinez, "He is the greatest DH since the rule was put in," and if you consider the DH a specialty role (like that of a closer) then by the same logic Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman should never make the Hall of Fame.
After all, they are the best closers of all time, but they only played a select role on their respective teams.
Another knock against Martinez is that he fell short of 3,000 hits (2,247) and only hit 309 home runs.
But I'm here to tell you that, although I can see the negatives, it would be a travesty if Martinez was denied entry.
While he may have not done anything in the field, Martinez was certainly one of the league's best hitters during his tenure in the majors, hitting .312 and driving in 1,261 runs in 18 seasons of work.
Any manager from the 1990's would confirm the hitting prowess of Martinez and his undeniable domination from the right-handed batter's box.
He went to seven All-Star games and won five Silver Slugger awards, capturing batting titles in 1992 and 1995.
Martinez led the league in on-base percentage twice, a testament to the stunning patience he displayed at the plate, and further evidenced by his 1,283 career walks compared to just 1,202 strikeouts.
In fact, since 1901, only four other players have had more walks than strikeouts (with at least 1200 or more of each) while hitting .300. You might know the others:
- Babe Ruth: .342 avg., 2062 BB, 1303 SO
- Frank Thomas: .301, 1667, 1397
- Jimmie Foxx: .325, 1452, 1311
- Hank Aaron: ..305, 1402, 1383
- Chipper Jones: .307, 1343, 1231
That's some elite company right there.
Additionally, Martinez was one of the driving forces behind saving baseball in the Pacific Northwest during the 1995 season when he carried the team in the absence of Ken Griffey Jr. during the summer months.
The season was highlighted by their epic comeback in the AL West, and with one swing of the bat on his game-winning double in Game Five of the ALDS, he secured a future for baseball in Seattle.
And those beautiful two-baggers were the cornerstone of his repertoire.
From Day One, they just never stopped coming, as the line-drive hitting Martinez collected 514 in his career.
Martinez used an inside-out swing that always allowed him to keep his hands behind the ball and gave him a chance to collect hits to all fields.
In Seattle adoring fans wore t-shirts that read, "Edgar esta caliente!" (Edgar is on fire), and Martinez has a chance to become the first Mariners player to go into the Hall having completed their entire career with the organization.
In my opinion, he deserves to make the Hall of Fame.
It won't happen this year, or even next year.
Heck, it probably won't even happen within the next five or 10 years because just like Jim Rice, Martinez will be overlooked by voters for reasons unbeknown to me.
But eventually, Edgar Martinez deserves to be among the baseball gods.
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