As we catch up to the Hall of Fame in our work, we really begin to see the reasons we were initially interested in this project. From 2001-2009 we elected fourteen players since the 1970s who the BBWAA has fanned on. And today we elect one more, Edgar Martinez. The second greatest DH in the HoME joins a pair of middle infielders, Barry Larkin and Roberto Alomar, who the writers appreciated enough to vote in.
Our three newbies this election bring the Hall of Miller and Eric to 194 of the greatest players the game has ever seen. Thus, we have only 21 players to elect in our final five elections. And since we have only 53 players to review during those elections (47 newbies and six from the backlog), that means we will elect just shy of 40% of those remaining up for consideration.
Here’s how we voted in 2010.
Miller Eric 1 Barry Larkin Barry Larkin 2 Roberto Alomar Roberto Alomar 3 Edgar Martinez Edgar Martinez 4 Pud Galvin
The Class of 2010
Barry Larkin: The 1995 NL MVP was a lifetime Red, a 12-time All-Star, and a 3-time Gold Glover. I suspect he’s what Derek Jeter would have been had Jeter played in Ohio. That’s not as a slight against either of these all-time greats. Larkin had both power, 198 homers, and speed, 379 steals. He was the whole package. In his best six years, he averaged 7.2 WAR. That’s approaching MVP level. In the next eight after that, he was at 4-WAR. Had Larkin not been fragile, topping 140 games just six times, he’d have been even better. As it is, he’s very nearly a top-ten shortstop. In Hall arguments for Alan Trammell, many compare him to Barry Larkin. That’s both unnecessary and inaccurate. Trammell should make it anyway, and Larkin was a bit better overall, the best full-time NL shortstop since Arky Vaughan.
Roberto Alomar: With a prime that lasted for 14 seasons, from 1988-2001, Roberto Alomar was a good fielding, great hitting second baseman. During that period, only Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey were clearly better among non-pitchers. He made 12 All-Star teams and won 10 Gold Gloves. Oddly, the thing he routinely got praise for, his glove, is probably not as good as we all thought back in the day, but there was plenty else to help him rack up the value. Five times Alomar was a 6-win player, and he was worth 4+ six more times. He hit .313 in his playoff career with 20 SB in 22 attempts, and he won the World Series as a Blue Jay in 1992 and 1993. And here’s an impressive stat: only Paul Molitor, all-time, can top Alomar in the triple crown categories plus runs and steals. Had he not tanked in his early 30s, we might have been looking at a top-5 to 7 second baseman rather than a top 10 or 11.
Edgar Martinez: We’ve been looking forward to voting for Edgar since we started this project, as he’s long been a favorite of ours. It’s a wonder that with our guy joining Griffey, Unit, and A-Rod that the Mariners never won a World Series. And it’s a shame that only Martinez stayed in the Pacific Northwest. Had the M’s of the late 1980s not been obsessed with Jim Presley, keeping Edgar out of MLB way too long, or if Edgar hadn’t destroyed his hamstring and with it his durability in an exhibition game in Vancouver, he might be in the Hall already. Contrary to popular belief, Edgar was a good third baseman. He didn’t play the field too much in an effort by Seattle to keep him healthy. And his bat clearly carried him. He won two batting titles, two doubles titles, a ribbie crown, a run title, and three OBP championships. He made seven All-0Star teams and finished his career with a .312/.418/.515 line. Only four hitters ever topped him in homers and the triple slash categories – Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, and Lou Gehrig. His best playoff series was likely his first. In the 1995 ALDS his M’s beat the Yanks while he hit .571 and drove in 10 runs in the five-game victory. The Hall isn’t calling, but the HoME’s doors are wide open for this all-time great hitter.
It’s solo vote time now. And once again Miller votes for Pud Galvin.
Pud Galvin: We’re getting right down to it. One or two of our backlog, which you’ll see on Monday includes only Galvin, Wilbur Cooper, George Gore, Clark Griffith, Heinie Groh, and Jim McCormick will make it into the HoME. Galvin is my favorite player of that group.
With our 2010 election now over, we urge you to check out our Honorees page to see the plaques of those elected and to see plenty more information about the HoME.