Hall Of Fame Debate: PICK ONE: Harold Baines OR Edgar Martinez

Hall Of Fame Debate: PICK ONE: Harold Baines OR Edgar Martinez

When the Hall of Fame made the announcement that their would be no modern players inducted into Cooperstown in 2013, I was not completely shocked.  I had read enough to understand that the BWAA voters were not all on the same page and that they were still split on whether players linked to PEDs should be in our out of the Hall of Fame. 

For me, the most alarming aspect of the vote was that certain players that I felt would easily get more votes than they did in prior years simply did not.  From Tim Raines to Lee Smith to Alan Trammell, I thought that these ‘clean’ guys would benefit from the votes not given to the more prolific and stat-packed players.

But, that did not happen.

Two of the guys that I thought would get big bumps in voting were Edgar Martinez and Harold Baines.  Both guys are supremely respected players, and are considered to be among the greatest designated hitters of all-time.

So, for this week’s debate, I thought I would put the two of them in a head-to-head battle for your vote.

I’m not saying that both deserve election.  And I am not saying that neither of them do.  What I am saying is, if you have to choose only one, which player’s resume stands out the most to you?  Who would you vote into the Hall of Fame if you had to choose between Harold Baines and Edgar Martinez??

First, let’s look at their numbers:

  Baines Martinez
Seasons 22 18
Games Played 2830 2,055
Hits 2,866 2,247
Doubles 488 514
Home Runs 384 309
Total Bases 4,604 3,718
RBI 1,628 1,261
Runs Scored 1,299 1,219
Batting Average 0.289 0.312
Batting Titles 2
On-Base % 0.356 0.418
20-HR seasons 12 7
30-HR seasons 0 1
100-RBI seasons 3 6
All-Star 6 7
Silver Slugger 1 5
Playoffs 6 4
World Series 0


Ok, when you look at these numbers, it shows that both players were supreme hitters.  And they were both very good at their job.

But, which one is better?

Baines’ numbers are greater in many areas, but he also played for more seasons.  Martinez’s career is more compacted in length, but he offered more production per year during his prime.

So, who gets the vote?  Who gets your vote?

While Baines may have been the first, great full-time designated hitter, Edgar Martinez took the position to another level.   My vote goes to Martinez.  He won two batting titles and had a much higher on-base percentage than Baines.  And as a  professional hitter, those categories are very important.  And during his prime years, he was driving in runs at a rampant pace.  I also take into consideration the Silver Slugger awards – they are chosen by your peers, and with Martinez racking them up, it shows the respect that people had for his ability to do his job at the highest level.

And now that you have my vote, who ya got?? 


28 responses to “Hall Of Fame Debate: PICK ONE: Harold Baines OR Edgar Martinez

  1. I been lobbying for Baines to make the hall ever since he retired. Been stockpiling his RC’s too, just in case. GO HAROLD!

    • Ron- I used to think that investing in future HOFers was the way that I was going to send my kids to school and then retire off of. Sadly, a lot can be had very inexpensively…Sucks.

      • Ron Churchwell

        Yea I know. I still have stacks of most all of the rookies from the 80’s. Outside of Mattingly, Ripken, and Griffey, most can be had very cheaply still. But i am still glad i have them 🙂 brings back memories of a happy time in collecting!

      • Ron- And that, my friend, is what this hobby is all about! At least for you and me…

  2. Quick and dirty metrics, no looking at the stats above.
    Player A: .289/.356/.465, OPS+ of 121, WAR of 45.3
    Player B: .312/.418/.515, OPS+ of 147, WAR of 69.9

    One of these players would appear to be vastly superior to the other. I agree, Baines and Edgar are HOF-worthy fellows, but player B outdistances player A. It ain’t even close.

    • Carlcrawfordcards- As solid as Baines’ and Martinez’s numbers are, I not certain as to if either of them is worthy. But of the two, I would have a very hard time voting against Martinez if I had to choose one.

  3. I am a fan of both Baines and Martinez. Martinez has better 162 Game Average Season stats but Baines had a better career. I think that playing during strikes seasons ( 2 for Martinez & 3 for Baines) hurt both of their stats, but Baines would have had 3,000 hits if those strikes didn’t take place. I know no one can change that.

    That being said he finished ahead of some HOF players in big categories like hits (Brooks Robinson, Charlie Gehringer, George Sisler and Andre Dawson) and in RBI ( Brett, Schmidt, Dawson, Hornsby, Killebrew, McCovey and Stargell).

    Also when looking at similar players for both Martinez and Baines I saw that Martinez was similar to no one player in the HOF, but in the ten most similar players to Baines half of the players are on that list are in the HOF (Perez, Kaline, Billy Williams, Dawson and Rice).

    Like I said I’m a fan of Baines and Martinez. I hope they both make it in the HOF. I just wish Baines would make it in first because he was the first great DH.

  4. I wish I had more time to comment on this topic. I choose Baines. The poor guy had to adapt to five different teams unlike Martinez. Baines also had more plate appearances. I think he was a tad more offensive than Edgar. Love both players to death. I think their hard work, clean & honest production should earn them the HOF.

  5. I think Baines’ numbers are more impressive considering he didnt have a ken griffey jr or alex rodriguez in his line-up for most of his career.

  6. Well Boys, I think that my choice has been swayed on this one. I am still not 100% certain that either player belongs in teh Hall, but it is very hard to not be super-impressed at who Baines’ numbers are better than.

  7. Anthony O'Neill

    It’s ok debating stats like this, but it is kind of a moot point because Baines is off the ballot. He didn’t receive enough votes in the 2011 Ballot to be carried over the following. In fact, he received 4.8%. 5% is needed. So unless the Veteran’s committee review this extreme oversight (which is doubtful) Baines won’t be going into the Hall of Fame without a ticket.

  8. Anthony O'Neill

    From Wiki: Baines had been eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame beginning with the 2007 election. While 75% of the vote is needed for induction, he never received greater than 6.1% (which he received in 2010). On January 5, 2011, Baines received just 28 votes (4.8%) in the 2011 Hall of Fame election, dropping him off all future Hall of Fame ballots by receiving less than 5.0% of the vote.

    • Anthony- if some more prominent DH guys get more consideration, I could see the Veteran’s committee looking deeper into Baines’ career.

      Frank Thomas, Jim Thome, and David Ortiz all played a good amount of DH. They will surely get more votes than Baines or Martinez, but it will bring more light into the position too…

  9. Anthony O'Neill

    Oh, I agree with you. Dialogue between fans is usually more intelligent, than between so called “experts”. I’ve always liked Baines as a player, and I was disappointed when he fell off the ballot. I also agree that the DH position should be more seriously considered in the future. It’s just like a number of years ago when relief pitchers were not considered as legitimate HOF contenders. It’s a bit hypocritical on MLB’s part, because the game creates a need for DH’s and relief pitchers, and there are players who specialize in these positions. The BBWAA realizes this, but then they won’t elect someone like Lee Smith or Harold Baines, saying “Well, he’s a DH..it’s not a real position” Or a reliever is not “a real pitcher” because he is not a starter. That is what is wrong with the BBWAA and the current voting system of the HOF. I do hope the Veteran’s Committee view this and cases like it, with a more open mind in the future, in context of what the player in question brought to the game. If you asked any of his fellow players at the time, they all would have said what a dangerous hitter Baines was. Oh well, we can dream can’t we? I’m still holding out for my favorite, Tony Fernandez to be in the Hall one day.

  10. Anthony O'Neill

    Sorry for the lengthy post, I’m just a p***ed of, passionate fan I guess 🙂

    • As a fellow passionate fan and collector, I personally, enjoyed reading your post and all of the others before you. This has been a very interesting topic. As far as Tony Fernandez goes, good luck with that!

      • Ron- maybe not near the same level as Raines and Henderson, but I always wondered how Fernandez would have been judged if not playing at the same time as Cal Ripken.

        Just curious to see if he’d be viewed differently by the baseball world.

    • Anthony, never a problem, my friend. I know you value these guys and I know you love the history of the sport.

      Thank you for reading ’30-YOC’ all these years!

      Comment any time!

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