The 2018 Hall of Fame ballot has been released to the baseball writers of America. Edgar Martinez again appears on the HOF ballot, giving voters a chance to support the best designated hitter in the history of the game. Will this finally be the year that Martinez receives 75 percent of the votes?
A report by Major League Baseball reveals the new names that will be joining Edgar Martinez and several other hold-overs on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot. Among the names now appearing on the 2018 Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot are Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Jamie Moyer, and Andruw Jones. They join Martinez, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Barry Bonds, and Larry Walker, who are still on the ballot.
Last year, the BBWAA inducted three hitters, as Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan Rodriguez drew enough support to make the cut. Now the campaigning has begun for a new group of players, with the familiar arguments about whether or not closers, designated hitters, and PED users deserve to take up residence in Cooperstown with some of the greatest athletes to ever play baseball. In the case of a hitter like Edgar Martinez, it’s shocking that he hasn’t already had an induction ceremony.
The push for Cooperstown is on. #EdgarHOF
— Mariners (@Mariners) November 20, 2017
Martinez played his entire 18-year career in Major League Baseball with the Seattle Mariners and he now resides at Safeco Field as the hitting coach for the franchise. During his playing time, Martinez posted a 0.312 batting average, a 0.418 on-base percentage, and a 0.933 OPS. He amassed 2,247 hits, 1,283 walks, and 1,261 RBIs during that time.
Martinez won two batting titles, led the league in on-base percentage three times, and also had 838 extra base hits in his career. His OPS+ was 147 with a WAR of 68.3 in 7,213 at-bats. Martinez was also a postseason hero for the Mariners, posting some amazing numbers during the four ALDS that he participated in. Martinez had a combined a 0.375 batting average, 0.481 on-base percentage, 1.262 OPS, seven home runs, and 20 RBIs over 17 ALDS games.
Edgar Martinez has appeared on the HOF ballot eight times, with his most support coming from the BBWAA last year. On the 2017 BBWAA ballot, Martinez received 58.6 percent of the votes, an increase from the 43.4 percent he received the year prior. With only two chances left to get inducted by the BBWAA, the good news for Martinez and Mariners fans is that he is trending in the right direction.
— Mariners (@Mariners) November 20, 2017
As for his place in history and how Edgar Martinez compares to other prolific designated hitters, it may surprise a lot of baseball fans to see how his numbers break down. Martinez compares very favorably to former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz, as he has better statistical numbers in many important categories. Martinez has a higher career batting average, on-base percentage, OPS, OPS+, and is far ahead in WAR (wins above replacement). In fact, there are more than 100 players who have had a worse WAR number than Martinez who are also ahead of Ortiz on the career list.
Comparing Martinez to just Ortiz isn’t going to get him enough support, so here are some more names from baseball history who have a lower career WAR than the 68.3 that Martinez sports. That list includes Ryne Sandberg (67.5), Ernie Banks (67.4), Don Drysdale (67.2),Roberto Alomar (66.8), Duke Snider (66.5), Craig Biggio (65.1), Andre Dawson (64.4), Dave Winfield (63.8), Bob Feller (63.8), Jackie Robinson (61.4), Harmon Killebrew (60.4), Yogi Berra (59.5), Whitey Ford (57.3), and Sandy Koufax (49.0). David Ortiz is at just 55.4.
While it’s tough to compare raw stats across the years, it is easier to see how a number like WAR breaks down for some of the best players the game has ever seen. Now it’s time for the BBWAA to use that 2018 HOF ballot and reward one of the best hitters of his generation with a place in Cooperstown. After receiving vocal support from Pedro Martinez, Mariano Rivera, and Randy Johnson, it’s time for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to celebrate the career of Edgar Martinez.
[Featured Image by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images]