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Edgar representing for the DH's

11/9/2009

Playing off a Larry Stone post (which plays off the Joe Posnanski post I linked to this morning), David Pinto makes a Hall of Fame case for Edgar Martinez:

    Let me get the party started. With stats by position going back to 1974, we have the careers at the position by most designated hitters. In looking at the list, there are two players who stand out as elite designated hitters, and that’s Martinez and David Ortiz (I think Frank Thomas played enough first base in his career that DH won’t count against him that much). It’s my contention that every position deserves to be represented in the Hall of Fame, and DH has been a position for 37 seasons. No one did it better than Edgar. It’s analogous to my positions on closers. There should be closers in the Hall of Fame, but there should be very few and only the best of the best. As one of the two best designated hitters ever, Edgar does indeed deserve a place in the Hall. One DH every 30 or 40 years seems about right to me.

It's my contention that every truly great player should be in the Hall of Fame, and by "truly great" I mean those players who reached a certain level of performance, as measured by how many games he helped his teams win. I understand David's position here, but what if Major League Baseball were to invent a new position? Or rather, to allow each team to use two designated hitters, with one of them standing in for, say, the shortstop? Would we then be compelled, after 35 or 40 years, to elect the best non-hitting shortstop (but only the best non-hitting shortstop)?

I think David is saying that because the DH has been around for 37 years and Edgar Martinez has been the best DH, Edgar Martinez belongs in the Hall of Fame. But what if Edgar Martinez had never been born? Would Pinto be advocating the election of David Ortiz? Harold Baines? Chili Davis?

I'm still an agnostic about Edgar. But don't tell me he's the best DH. I already know that, and frankly I'm not all that impressed. If you want my vote, demonstrate to me that Edgar Martinez won just as many games for his teams as Paul Molitor and Frank Thomas and Eddie Murray and Roberto Alomar won for theirs.