The Edgar Martinez debate
January, 19, 2009
Already looking ahead to 2010, Larry Stone wonders what will happen when Edgar Martinez first appears on the Hall of Fame ballot:
A closer examination of [Jim] Rice's statistics, under the lens of recently developed analytical tools, caused many in the sabermetric community to conclude he wasn't Hall worthy. In the same sense, I believe that statistical scrutiny will benefit Martinez, whose numbers look better the closer you examine them.
"Exactly the same could be said of Tim Raines, and see how poorly he's doing," countered ESPN's Rob Neyer, who is at the forefront of statistical analysis.
Neyer is also a first-year BBWAA member as the organization last year allowed Internet reporters for the first time. Only 10-year members of the organization are eligible to vote for the Hall of Fame. He said he is still undecided on Martinez but has little doubt he will be denied in the first year.
"If you look at other candidates and how they've done, it's hard to imagine him getting anywhere near 75 percent," he said.
I solicited one more opinion. I asked Edgar himself if he thought he was a Hall of Famer. Granted, it's a ridiculous question, putting him in a no-win situation. But I wanted to hear his answer, which predictably was humble and wise.
"I don't know. I don't know how to answer that question," he said. "It's just about comparing numbers, I guess, and whether they compare to someone already in the Hall. People will probably measure whether I belong or not by the numbers.
"I've heard in the past the argument I don't have enough numbers to be in there. It's a great honor to at least have people talk about it."
The conversation is just beginning, Edgar.