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Thursday, August 19, 2004

I happily retract all comments I made about Ichiro not being worth $11 mil a year.

If the M's had decided not to sign him, I suppose everyone would be saying he was motivated by this being his free agent year. Makes one wonder about those that people do say this about. Freddie Garcia comes to mind, although Freddie was turning it around by last September.

It's a real bummer about Leone's hand. Damn Royal pitchers can't locate a pitch to save their lives. Anyway, Justin did himself well. A .739 OPS put him just above Boone at 7th on the team (also ahead of Cabrera) . His .441 slugging at 5th. And his defense was getting better. I like his patience at the plate and I like his power and speed.

Will he be our 3rd baseman next year? Who knows? I'm not looking forward to seeing more of Willie Bloomquist at 3rd. I'd rather see Greg Dobbs, and I'm not all that excited about Greg either. But Dobbs will hit circles around Willie (is that physically possible?).

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

It's strange to me to think that anyone would argue Edgar Martinez does not belong in the Hall of Fame. This is definitely the wrong way to frame the debate.

When Edgar is eligible, other great players will be as well. Sportwriters will vote for those they think are most worthy. Some will win, others wont. But the idea that a hitter as great as Edgar Martinez somehow is not worthy of the Hall of Fame is ridiculous. Edgar's numbers and persona are absolute Hall of Fame material. The question is whether he is more worthy than those who will be voted upon as well.

I wish everyone could agree with the obvious - that Edgar is worthy of the Hall of Fame - and leave it at that until the voting takes place. When the voters vote, they can explain why they voted for others ahead of Edgar, or Edgar ahead of others. But the Hall of Fame, if it is meant for anybody, is meant for players like Edgar. Anyone who flat out says Edgar does not belong
in the Hall of Fame is a careless with language to the point of being hurtful. Of course Edgar belongs in the Hall of Fame - all great players belong. Some get in, others don't. There are no published criteria that disqualifies Edgar that I know of. But I do know this - when you look at Edgar's all time numbers, they fall within a slew of Hall of Famers. The numbers aren't all in yet, but so far:

A .312 lifetime batting average (roughly tied for 81st all time with HOFers Bill Dickey, Johnny Mize and Joe Sewell)

A .420 lifetime OBP (roughly tied for 20th with Mickey Mantle, another HOFer)
1272 walks (currently 36th all time, just 5 behind HOFer Al Kaline, whom he'll pass before the season is over)

Edgar's 510 doubles ties him with Rickey Henderson for 36th all time and puts him ahead of Babe Ruth.

All Time Slugging % of .518 puts him at 60th, just ahead of Charlie Keller, not a HOFer, but also ahead of HOFer Willie McCovey.

Edgar keeps company with the Hall of Famers, and this is done with a career that got off to a late start. This only adds to his greatness, in my book. Edgar is a unique and special ballplayer, and is worthy to be mentioned with the very best.

Now, there are other current ballplayers who do as well, and these are the players with whom Edgar is competing for votes. So we'll have to see how it all shakes out.

One other strange thing to me is that Edgar's late start and almost full time DHing somehow counts against him. Is this really fair, to take things that a player has no control over, and count those things against him? Edgar could have played 3rd or 1st base all his career. But he didn't, because the DH gave Lou Pinella the opportunity to protect this incredibly valuable asset, the first right handed AL batting champ since Joe DiMaggio (once again, we see Edgar mentioned with the stars). It's not as if Edgar was completely unable to play the field. His manager chose him not to. Why fault him for this?

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