Monday, January 11, 2010

Casi casi Roberto, good showing for Edgar and a tear for El Gato

This past week was the election for the class of 2010 Baseball Hall of Fame. First off congratulations to Andre Dawson who was only player elected by the Baseball writers. Puerto Rican Roberto Alomar came very close to achieving election to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Falling 8 votes short of enshrinement, Alomar received 73.7% of the vote (75% is needed for enshrinement). Had Alomar received the necessary 75% of the ballot, he would have been the first Latino ballplayer since Rod Carew was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1991. Alomar would have been the first Puerto Rican elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility since Roberto Clemente was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973.

Roberto Alomar was the model of consistency at both second base forming one of the best double play combinations (with future Hall of Famer Omar Vizquel) and at the plate. In 17 seasons, Alomar had a career batting average of .300 where he amassed 2724 hits (504 2B, 80 3B, 210 HR) and 1134 RBI. In terms of modern metrics, Alomar had a career OBP% of .371 and a SLG% of .443 for an OPS of .814 and had 474 SB. His best season was 1999 with the Cleveland Indians where he came in 3rd in the MVP race batting .323 with 182 hits (40 2B, 3 3B, 24 HR) and 120 RBI and led the league in runs scored with 138. That season Alomar also had an OPS of .955 (.442 OBP and .553 SLG). Alomar was a 12-time All-Star, a 10-time Gold Glove award winner and also won 4 Silver Slugger awards.

Current second-basemen like Robinson Cano and Dan Uggla can thank Roberto Alomar (and future Hall of Famer Jeff Kent) for laying the foundation for the second-baseman that can superb on both the field and at the plate.

The Latino presence on the Hall of Fame ballot was also augmented by the great show of support for Puerto Rican Edgar Martinez. The funny thing about the situation with Edgar is that there were many writers that predicted that he wouldn't even get the necessary 5% of the vote to remain eligible for next year's ballot. Why? These writers felt that since Martinez was a Designated Hitter and not a "complete" ballplayer (not playing the field) it would diminish his chances to make it into the Hall of Fame. We're not talking about Dave Kingman here, Edgar Martinez is not only a DH, he's the best DH (hey, the award for the best DH is named after him). Well, 195 votes good for 36.2% of the vote is an excellent starting point for Martinez.

In 18 seasons, Martinez had a career a career batting average of .312 where he amassed 2247 hits (514 2B, 15 3B, 309 HR) and 1261 RBI. In terms of modern metrics, Martinez had a career OBP% of .418 and a SLG% of .515 for an OPS of .933. Martinez also walked more (1283) than he struck out (1202) further cementing his status of a dependable hitter, His best season was the memorable 1995 season with the Seattle Mariners where he came in 3rd in the MVP race batting a league leading .356 with 182 hits (52 2B, 0 3B, 29 HR) and 113 RBI and led the league in runs scored with 121. That season Martinez also had an OPS of 1.107 (league leading .479 OBP and .628 SLG). Martinez was a 7-time All-Star and won 5 Silver Slugger awards.

In my opinion, if you are asked to do a job as Edgar Martinez was in being written in the lineup as a DH, and you are superb in that position, then why should you not be both considered the best in the game at your position and best in the game to be inducted in the Hall of Fame. The DH is used in mostly all levels of baseball from College, Minor League, Japanese League and the American League (The National League is the only one that does not use the DH for regular league play). At some point the anti-DH bias that is often seen with baseball traditionalist has to be broken and it would be amazing if the player to do it is the same player that raised the position to the level that it occupies today.

Sadly, Andres Galarraga is no longer eligible for the Hall of Fame. Galarraga who hails from Venezuela was unable to get the necessary 5% of the vote (22 votes for 4.1%). In 19 seasons, Galarraga had a career a career batting average of .288 where he amassed 2333 hits (444 2B, 32 3B, 399 HR) and 1425 RBI. In terms of modern metrics, Martinez had a career OBP% of .347 and a SLG% of .499 for an OPS of .846. His best season was 1996 with the Colorado Rockies where he led the league with 47Hr 150 RBI and had a .304BA. Galarraga a 5-time All-Star, 2-time Gold Glove award winner and also won 2 Silver Slugger awards.

Galarraga was a personal favorite of fine who played the game with class and grace even when faced with personal turmoil. I didn't think he would be elected in, but I wish that he would have at least been given the chance to get his 15 years to get the necessary votes. He can eventually get in by getting elected by the Veteran's committee. I don't think it will happen, but it doesn't diminish how good of a player he was.

What do you think. Any opinions or comments? Feel free to add to the conversation.
Hasta Luego,
FH.
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