Lance Berkman, Edgar Martinez, and Cooperstown

Lance Berkman is off to a monster start to the 2011 season, hitting .406/.467/.781 for the Cardinals. He’s one of only a handful of players to already accumulate +2 WAR for the year, and he’s nearly matched his 2010 total in that regard. Whatever stories were getting written about his demise last year have been put on hold indefinitely, as Berkman is showing that he’s not even close to washed up at age 35.

In looking at his career batting line, I began to realize that Berkman has some Hall-Of-Fame marks in the rate statistics. His .297/.410/.549 mark over the last decade is good for a 146 wRC+, the same level of offensive performance that Mike Schmidt had over his career. Other players in that same mid-140s wRC+ range include Willie Stargell, Willie McCovey, Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Eddie Matthews, and Ralph Kiner- lots of Hall-Of-Fame names in that area.

But guys generally don’t get into Cooperstown on rate statistics; they get in on counting numbers: 3,000 hits, 500 home runs, 300 wins – these have been the markers that voters have used to identify players who have been great for long periods of time. Berkman isn’t going to get to any of those numbers, as he has only 1,714 hits and 336 home runs. If he hangs around long enough, he might get to 400 home runs, but given the glut of sluggers who are coming up for consideration, that number doesn’t seem all that impressive anymore.

The reason why Berkman’s counting numbers are a bit unimpressive is because he didn’t get a real call to the Majors until he was 24 and didn’t become an everyday player until he was 25, so his career to date has basically only amounted to 11 seasons and change. For six of those seasons, he absolutely played like a Hall-Of-Famer, putting up 6+ WAR in each year between 2001-2004, then again in 2006 and 2008. He was a good solid player in 2005, 2007, and 2009, and then had a couple of average years in 2000 and 2010. Obviously, 2011 is off to a good start, but we’ll have to see whether he can put up a full elite season while also playing the outfield. Even if he does, though, that will still only give him seven Cooperstown quality seasons, and the baseball writers have spent the last couple of years rejecting a candidate with a similar resume.

In terms of rate stats, Berkman and Edgar Martinez are pretty darn similar. Martinez also had a delayed start to his career, so his counting numbers aren’t what many voters are looking for, but his 148 wRC+ is actually a tick better than Berkman’s career mark. Martinez  played until he was 41, so he has 1,600 more plate appearances in his career than Berkman does, but it’s reasonable to think that Berkman could play another two years after this one and end his career with similar career longevity.

If Berkman does hold on for several more seasons and generates another 400 hits or so, his final career numbers will be awfully similar to that of Edgar’s. So, then, the question will simply come down to whether voters really are keeping Martinez out of the hall because of the DH stigma, or if it’s a length of sustained greatness issue.

We’ve seen voters raise the issue of length of peak with Martinez, and Berkman is going to have the same problem. Martinez also only had six seasons with 6+ WAR, but he had another four seasons between 4-6 WAR, while Berkman doesn’t have any as of yet. The WARGraph shows the drop really well, and the lack of high quality non-peak seasons is probably going to be an issue for Berkman.

Berkman, however, is not going to have to deal with the voters who believe the DH is not a position, or that it should require some insanely great numbers in order to put a DH in the Hall. If Berkman ends up with similar career offensive numbers, but he can also point to a career in the field that included some legitimate defensive value at first base, he’s going to look like a better candidate to a good number of voters.

Around 60+ WAR seems to be where most of the bubble candidates for Cooperstown reside, and at +58.2 through this point of his career, Berkman looks to be headed right for that gray area. His rate stats will be Hall-Of-Fame worthy, but his counting stats will be deemed less impressive. Will he get into Cooperstown when all is said and done?

You tell me.





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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


60 Responses to “Lance Berkman, Edgar Martinez, and Cooperstown”

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  1. Logan says:

    Lance “Berman” is not a Hall-of-Famer

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    • AustinRHL says:

      I also think you’re sort of asking for trouble by wording it simply as “Lance Ber(k)man – Hall of Famer?”. Some people are surely going to skim the article and then respond as if the question were asking for our opinion on whether he should be in the Hall, not whether we think he’ll get in.

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      • MarkE says:

        Given as I didn’t even realise there was a poll until I’d read the complete article, I don’t think that’s much of a worry, unless there’s a clan of readers who deliberate open articles hoping that there’s a poll they can misinterpret.

        For what it’s worth, I enjoyed the article, and would also like to have seen references to the WAR of similar players who have been deemed HOF-worthy.

        On a slightly different note, I was quite drawn to the chart and got wondering. This may already exist somewhere, in which case I apologise for wasting time, but would appreciate a link.

        The WAR by nth best season is a pertinent way of presenting what is, after all a counting stat, and I got thinking about why it’s impractical to consider this season-by-season, because of time missing due to injury or other reasons. But what I felt I would like to see was a chart that still presented WAR chronologically, but by games rather than by season. So, for instance, a bar chart with a bar per 250 PA (or some practical equivalent) to show how performance has dipped over time. Of course, the WAR score/250PA would be lower, but that would at least put all time periods on an equal footing relative to seasons which aren’t always conducive to producing a fair summary of a counting stat.

        Is there anything of this kind out there?

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  2. MikeS says:

    I don’t think Berkman is a hall of famer although you make good arguments on both sides.

    However, I’m pretty sue that Lance Berman guy you have in the poll isn’t going to the HOF. I can’t even find him on baseball-reference.com.

    (Small typo in the poll heading)

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  3. Anon says:

    Berkman probably deserves consideration but he will get zero and falll into the John Olerud HOF of very good players who never did the big things that voters notice.

    Seriously, no chance

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  4. Kroot says:

    A good reminder how impressive of a career Edgar Martinez had.

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  5. DD says:

    Edgar Martinez HOF? YES!

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  6. Darrell says:

    I hadn’t realized how impressive Martinez was from 1992-2000. Not counting the injured 1993 and the strike-shortened 1994, he hit .320+ every healthy year in that timeframe with increasing power and tremendous OBP. He was basically Ichiro plus power and walks (minus the stolen bases and outfield defense). Those numbers are crazy good.

    I think what hurts Martinez, besides the DH thing, is that his defining moment (“The Double” in 1995) was in a series that the Mariners won but then lost before even reaching the World Series. I’m not sure a first-round triumph is enough to stick in people’s memory as a “Hall of Fame caliber” memory. Based on numbers alone, I don’t see why he isn’t in. He has to be one of the best 3-4 hitters from 1992-2000 (or 1995-2001).

    I don’t think Berkman has those memories either, and with numbers that are probably not going to be as good, without a comparable peak, I don’t see him getting in, even with his defense.

    Both guys are really hurt by the fact that steroids and HGH (allegedly) enabled a bunch of hitters to put up crazy numbers either right after them or during the same time, diluting their impressive careers (which may or may not have included PEDs themselves, to be fair).

    Martinez and Berkman, even if they didn’t use PEDs, are unfortunate enough to live in the shadow of Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, Manny, and others.

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    • Santos says:

      I feel bad doing this but saying, “He was basically Ichiro plus power and walks (minus the stolen bases and outfield defense).” Is just as good as saying, “He is nothing like Ichiro”.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        I would have gone with it’s just as good as saying “both he and Ichiro played for the Mariners and sustained high batting averages.” The secondary skills they supplemented those BAs with, however, are nothing alike.

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    • kick me in the GO NATS says:

      I think “Martinez was a far better all round hitter than Ichiro, but was much slower once he reached base” is the fair way to state this. Seriously Ichiro on bases like .350 with no power the last few seasons while Martinez was one of the hardest guys to get out in the history of the game and hit a ton of doubles and 25 or so home runs a season!

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  7. VivaAyala says:

    In my opinion, Berkman, though worthy of a discussion, isn’t a HOF-er. His career aside from his peak just hasn’t been long enough or good enough. His peak certainly is Cooperstown-worthy, however.

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  8. pacbellpilgrim says:

    Berkman has been my favorite player, but he does seem to fall short, barring a couple of more MVP-caliber seasons (unlikely).

    Interesting that Martinez and Berkman have similar playoff results as well – matching closely to their regular season performance.

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    • Preston says:

      It seems that all of my favorite players of the last decades or so fall into this category. Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen and Lance Berkman would all be in my very biased hall of fame. Although Lance definitely has the weakest case of the group (not done yet though). Here’s hoping for Jim Thome like durability as a DH for a high profile team where he can have media visible accomplishments.

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  9. SFSUGatorAlum says:

    Berkman won’t get in until voters start recognizing WAR…

    So he’ll never get in.

    Voters should start recognizing WAR around 2075 or 2100.

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    • Jason B says:

      I think there is value in a metric like WAR, but I do *not* want it to be the be-all, end-all of HOF cases, MVP debates, etc. Too often it gets thrown around that way. It’s one facet of [what should be] a multifaceted argument. (And is far from a perfect metric, regardless.)

      Especially if overreliance on WAR lets in very-good-but-not-great candidates like Berkman, I think the solution may be worse than the problem.

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      • Aaron/YYZ says:

        You realize we already have issues with letting in very-good-but-not-great candidates, right? (see Rice, Jim)

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      • Bronnt says:

        The problem isn’t a reliance on WAR. It’s a fact that we’re looking at the low bar WAR plateau that voters have set on admission. If voters relied MORE on WAR, and set the mark closer to 70 rather than 60, you’d find a lot fewer guys in the Hall whom you would say “Well I don’t think that guy belongs.”

        This isn’t about making a case for Berkman based on WAR, though, it’s about predicting the behavior of Hall voters and their correlation with WAR.

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      • Jason B says:

        “You realize we already have issues with letting in very-good-but-not-great candidates, right? (see Rice, Jim)”

        Oh absolutely. We do enough of that already without adding to it with other not-overly-qualified players like Berkman.

        “The problem isn’t a reliance on WAR. It’s a fact that we’re looking at the low bar WAR plateau that voters have set on admission.”

        You nailed it – whether using WAR or *any* metric, too often we (‘we’ meaning someone stating a case for a HOF candidate) compare a candidate to the lowest possible hurdle for admission (e.g., well if Jim Rice is in why not Dave Parker? Or hell, Ellis Burks, for that matter?).

        One shouldn’t build a case by comparing a candidate to the *least qualified* entrant at a given position, but rather to the *average of all entrants* at that position. Comparing to the lease qualified at every position and letting in every other similarly-qualified entrant, and we would have about 1500 players in the HOF.

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  10. Cidron says:

    Berkman wont get in.

    He did have a good year or two, but was he a dominant force? No, Not really. When you think of the elite hitters, does his name come up? No. Not unless your list is longer than most. Would his glove work get him in? Rather doubt it. He just doesn’t pass the eyeball test. If you stumbled across a random survey that asked if he was/is a Hall of Fame player, could you in 2m or less seriously check the “yes” box?

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    • Mark says:

      What do you mean Berkman wasn’t a dominant force offensively? Between 2000-2011 (ie ever since he’s been in the majors, excluding the 100 or so AB’s he got in 1999) he’s been the 6th best hitter in baseball by wOBA. Behind only Pujols, Bonds, Manny, Helton, and A-Rod. If you change it to WAR, he’s fourth during that time, behind only A-Rod, Pujols and Bonds.

      If you think I’m being unfair by starting the timeline at the year 2000, I can go back to 1990 to find that Berkman only drops to being the 10th best hitter by wOBA (Larry Walker, Big Hurt and Bagwell and Edgar are the 4 guys better then him,).

      There’s absolutely no question that Lance Berkman has been one of the most elite hitters of his time. Hell, you might be able to make the argument that he’s one of the 40-50 best hitters of all time (closer to 40). The fact that you don’t think of him as an elite hitter doesn’t change the fact that since he was called up, the only players that have been better then him are guys who will probably go as the top 2 best at their position all time (A-Rod, Bonds, Pujols).

      I’m not an Astros fan, but I think that with another good year or two Berkman deserves to go in. His counting stats suck, but he had a 10-11 year period of being one of the 6 best hitters in the game. That has to count for something. I don’t see him getting in, but when you look at the numbers you realize he’s been an outstanding offensive force.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        I have to admit I did not realize that his wOBA was that high in comparison to peers. I would consider 11 seasons to be a reasonably long period of time.

        6 seasons of 6+ WAR. I’m not sure that is HoF, but maybe in the discussion.

        While he may be at 58 fWAR, he’s at 48 brWAR.

        I’m all for setting the “limit” at 70 WAR (averaged between the 2 or 3 major WAR systems, etc). I’m not a Hall of Willie Mays type of guy, but I’m also not a Lance Berkman, Jim Edmonds, Rick Reuschel, Kevin Brown, Lou Whitaker, HoF guy either.

        ——————————

        I forget if I read it from Tango, or Poz, or Bill James … but it discussed if hitters could trade in their walks for hits, and how that would affect counting stats, and hall of fame rate stats.

        I forget the actual conversion stats for walks to hits, but my mind is telling me something like it was 5 BB’s = 3 H’s.

        Even if Berkman is allowed to trade 500 walks for 300 hits, he’s nowhere near traditional milestones (with a respectable OBP). I think the case was made that Raines could trade in enough walks to get 3000 hits, and still have a Hall of Fame OBP.

        Berkman is going to be measured against steroid era production, and against his once in a generation peers.

        Counting stats are going to hurt his chances. I’m not a “counting stat only” guys as I feel more than a few HoF have made it to the Hall simply by reaching those milestones (Molitor, Winfield, etc).

        He ranks so high on wOBA list for a decent length of time, but doesn’t have the counting stats in hits, homers, etc …. sounds a lot like Santo.

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      • joe says:

        I think you hit the key…. bWAR or fWAR?

        For example is Carl Crawford really a career 22.5 UZR/150 defender at Tampa or a 7.5 UZR/150 everywhere else? (this is not a small sample size either) And how does that affect his WAR?

        Real? Input bias? Stadium issues?

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Poz definitely wrote about it, but he might have taken the idea from somewhere else. And the conversion was 500 BB = 325 1B. Based on the value conversion, Berkman’s career offensive value is equivalent to someone who has 2039 H, 568 BB, same 2B/3B/HR/etc., and a .335/.394/.573 triple-slash line. There isn’t one player with that BA and as many PA as Berkman (6000) who isn’t in the Coop – Lance would be 17th all-time if that was our qualification level. His OBP is the weakest, but it’s still excellent and it’s also the most-ignored of the triple-slash stats among HOF voters (read: anybody equating Mark McGwire and Dave Kingman). His slugging percentage would be 12th, and the only players ahead of him not in are tainted by steroids. Re-arranging how the Big Puma got his career value, without altering the total amount of said career value in any way, shape or form, would make him a slam-dunk Hall of Famer.

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      • Jason B says:

        “Re-arranging how the Big Puma got his career value, without altering the total amount of said career value in any way, shape or form, would make him a slam-dunk Hall of Famer.”

        I think there is some truth to this – it would help his vote totals, definitely – but even trading out 500 BB for 325 H would only push him just above 2,000. I think he would still be far from a sure thing.

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  11. CircleChange11 says:

    I love me some Lance Berkman, well … not at least that he’s not an Astro destroying my Cardinals.

    Folks we REALLY need to look at this. Lance Berkman is in no way shape or form (no puns intended) a Hall of Famer. Lance Berkman was simply a very good baseball player, but not a dominant one.

    If we start basing HoF entrance on WAR, then a whole host of just “good players for a long time” are making it into the HoF, instead of just the outstanding ones.

    Seriously Edgar, Edmonds, Walker, Helton, Berkman, and on and on. Extending it backwards, we get Rick Reuschel in the HoF based on WAR.

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Berkman is the exact opposite of a “good player for a long time” guy. The entire argument against him is that his peak was too short, not that it wasn’t good enough. From 2001 to 2008, Berkman was third in the majors in WAR, behind only Pujols and A-Rod.

      You’ve run out this same line every time we’ve discussed any borderline candidate, but the reality is that these cases are wildly different.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Better than I thought perhaps … but, not only is his peak too short, but it’s not high enough. 6 WAR seasons. More All-Star level, than MVP.

        We can say Berkman is 3rd behind ARod and Pujols, and then look at WAR. Berkman puts up 6 WAR seasons and ARod and AP5 put up 8 WAR seasons.

        Berkman and Helton are decent comps, IMO … except Helton has better “best seasons”.

        I keep running out the same line because overall situations are similar for a lot of these guys in the 55-65 WAR range … not good enough for long enough, or not high enough peaks (IMO, of course).

        Berkman, as I stated earlier, only has 48 brWAR.

        Anyway, I understand the Hall will have more Paul Molitors, Andre Dawsons, and Jim Rices than it will Stan Musials and Mike Schmidts, just due to the distribution of talent.

        Most of the discussion is about the cutoff line.

        Edmonds situation is different than Andruw Jones, Jones is different than helton, who is different than Walker, etc. They’re all different. That’s not the issue.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Dave, you’re right about the comment, although I did say “very good for a long time”, and that’s how I would describe 6 WAR seasons a decade. (estimated).

        The problem, really, is how we view 6 WAR season in the 2000s.

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  12. Yo Yo Mamma says:

    Fat Elvis ain’t making it to Graceland AKA Cooperstown.

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  13. west says:

    Just because Rice and Dawson got in doesn’t mean you have to let everyone in.

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  14. Ralphie says:

    Apparently Lance Berman is as underrated as Dave Cameron is overrated.

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  15. walt526 says:

    Gut reaction is that his peak isn’t high enough to compensate for lack of career value expected from a 1B/LF/RF.

    Rather than Edgar Martinez, a better comparison would be Will Clark.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      What, to make Berkman look better? Look, Clark was an excellent baseball player, but he’s pretty clearly inferior to Berkman in virtually every way.

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  16. Mike says:

    Very interesting piece Dave…

    If I was a voter, I would take a really hard look at Berkman’s case.

    Like Edgar, he put together a long stretch (I consider 5+ years a pretty long stretch) of hitting mastery. Like you said, only a few in the game were better.

    2 more years of that good stuff would make him a lot easier to vote in, that’s for sure.

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  17. John DiFool says:

    We do seem to have a lot of stars in the game lately who got rather late starts to their careers, at least as compared to stars from earlier eras. I can see several reasons for this:

    1) Many went to college and not the minor leagues. I don’t know how much playing college ball hurts a young player’s development (they had to adjust from the aluminium bat to the wooden one, to name the most obvious hurdle)-maybe Berkman wouldn’t have been called up any earlier if he started in A ball at age 19, maybe he would have.

    2) Increased competition at the majors level means fewer openings for raw but talented youngsters. In the relevant years (1998-1999), when Berkman was killing the ball in AA-AAA, the Astros had Bags at first (natch), and the likes of Richard Hidalgo and Derek Bell at the corner OF spots. While those two guys had rotten 1999 seasons, Hidalgo was excellent in 2000, Bell in 1998 (and they had Moises Alou at a .982 OPS playing left in ’98). At the time it wouldn’t have been obvious that a young Berkman was a better choice than these guys.

    But if you go back 30-50 years, you have clubs calling up Robin Yount at 18, or George Brett at 21, because if they don’t they are playing the likes of Tim Johnson (career OPS+: 56) or an aging Paul Schall (who retired with an 86 OPS+ in Brett’s rookie year). Talented kids in the minors are more likely to be blocked nowadays.

    3. The continuing reluctance to put a kid in the lineup “before he is ready” and let him develop at the major-league level, even tho in the long run I think they might benefit, even if they struggle for a year or two at first. There’s that urban legend about clubs wanting to control players during their peak years (before they hit free agency) to consider too.

    I personally like to see a lot of kids being called up-the Red Sox have been consistently cautious in this regard, perhaps too cautious; they thought Carl Crawford would be a better option in left than either of their AAA corner studs, Kalish or Reddick, because putting either of those guys in left and letting them learn for a year or so simply wasn’t an option, given the competition they have in their division.

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  18. ScottyM says:

    Too bad clubhouse presence & personality are not reflected in HOF voting. Berkman brings more to the table in STL than just his switch hitting. That clubhouse is miles ahead of where it was last year in good part to Berkman’s presence according to media reports. He was also willing to play whatever position asked in HOU for years with no complaints despite being they’re best hitter. Probably will be the nicest guy to be just barely on the wrong side of the HOF line.

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    • cwendt says:

      “Despite being their best hitter”.

      Albert Pujols & Matt Holliday beg to differ.

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      • SFSUGatorAlum says:

        Reading can be a tough thing, but he clearly mentioned Houston in the same sentence as “their best hitter”.

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      • Ian R. says:

        Albert Pujols, 2011: .231/.298/.419
        Matt Holliday, 2011: .409/.505/.648
        Lance Berkman, 2011: .402/.477/.773

        Small sample sizes, obviously, but Berkman is hitting MUCH better than Pujols so far this year, and actually has a higher OPS than Holliday. So if the original comment DID say that Berkman was the best (so far, not in terms of true talent) hitter on the Cardinals, you could make a case that that’s true.

        Of course, the commenter was talking about Houston, so the point is moot.

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  19. AF says:

    What I don’t understand is why everyone’s talking about a 35-year old leading the majors in hitting as if his career’s over.

    This isn’t that complicated. Berkman has played at a HOF level for about 10 years but that’s not good enough to be a bona fide HOFer. He’s got to keep it up at about 3 years longer coupled with a graceful decline. If he does that, he’s in, even if he finishes shy of 500 homers — statistical analysis has achieved enough prominence that nobody will let a 70 WAR stay out forever. If he peters out like he appeared to be doing last year, he comes up short.

    The real mystery is why people are assuming he’s on a premature and steep decline when, to grossly understate the case, he’s not playing like it.

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    • AF says:

      I realize Edgar finished with 70 WAR. I’d still argue that Berkman make it in if he keeps being a 3-4 WAR player through 2013 plus a year or two of decline because: (1) he’ll finish with around 450 homers against Edgar’s 309, (2) he won’t have played most of his career at DH, and (3) the increasing attention to WAR (and more basically, the value of walks and OBP) will erode the tendency to focus on counting stats to the exclusion of all else.

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    • Robbie G. says:

      “The real mystery is why people are assuming he’s on a premature and steep decline when, to grossly understate the case, he’s not playing like it.”

      I agree. The verdict is still out on Berkman and it seems silly to simply assume that this season is for sure his final hurrah.

      If Berkman can continue to play at a relatively high level all season long and also demonstrates to the world that he can stay relatively healthy over the course of a 162 game regular season, then someone will offer him a two-year deal to be their starting 1B in 2012 and 2013 this winter. And he will presumably get paid more than the $8 mil that St. Louis is paying him this season.

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  20. cwendt says:

    Look at your own graph…except for those peak 6 seasons, there is a HUGE separation between E-Mart (a HOF who may not even get in) and Berkman (a Hall of Very Good Guy from a later period) for the next 6. Heck, Bagwell is to E-Mart what E-Mart is to Berkman, and even HE is having trouble (Ironically, Biggio, who is at the same level as E-Mart, will get in thanks to 3000 hits and a tougher Def position, which is already factored into WAR).

    If we set the WAR cutoff at 60, E-Mart (67 bWAR) is substantially above the bar Berkman (at best 53 by the end of this year) substantially below. That means he would realistically need 2 more years of playing at this level, or 4 more years as an average major league player, and probably some post-season success, to be in consideration.

    Not happening. Probably SHOULDN’T happen.

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    • The Ancient Mariner says:

      Nobody ever called Edgar Martinez “E-Mart,” and nobody who knows what they’re talking about ever will. You want to shorten his name, do it right and call him “Gar.”

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      • cwendt says:

        Wow, a hugely douchey response to someone defending Martinez’s HOF credentials.

        I guess if Ryan Langerhans was my #3 hitter, I’d be bitter too.

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  21. My echo and bunnymen says:

    I can’t have Edgar Martinez walk my borderline for HoF and have Berkman above it or even on it as well. I see no justification (yet). So I vote, no.

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  22. Iceman11 says:

    Speaking of former “Strohs……..until you let Bagwell in we shouldn’t even be talking about Berk.

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    • Preston says:

      I was just thinking that. Similarly Bagwell just doesn’t have the sexy counting stats 3,000 and 500 but his defense and base running made him a much better player than the Puma. Lance Berkman is one of the best 1B of his era. Jeff Bagwell is one of the best all time.

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  23. Jason B says:

    He’s polling at 27.5% right now. If he looked cooked in his first 100 PA this season, to the tune of .200/.280/.330 or some really awful start, where do you think he would be polling? I’m thinking around 10%, if that. Like I said in response to the Derek Lowe article, people can be dazzled by small samples at times.

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    • Jason B says:

      Not that people are solely responding to just those 100 PA. With those 100 awesome PA, folks think, “Look, there’s some juice left in the tank! He can be a productiveregular for another 3-4 years!” With 100 abjectly awful at-bats, they might be saying “With the start to this season, plus the down year last year, he’s completely cooked – put him out to pasture already!” It’s taking the first month of this season and extrapolating another few years of continued productivity based on it.

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  24. OzzieGuillen says:

    How lame would the Hall of Fame become if it starts inducting quality (but not great) players like Martinez and Berkman while rejecting the headline makers like Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa? I never felt the need to go see Martinez and Berkman play live. I LOVED watching Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa live. There is something to be said about the level of excitement a player generated and how it correlates to Hall of Fame worthiness.

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    • Ian R. says:

      Excitement? That’s your argument? Not that Sosa hit 600 HR, that Bonds was arguably the greatest hitter of all time, and that Clemens is a top-10 all-time pitcher?

      I’m twisting your words slightly, but ‘excitement’ is basically the same argument used to get Jim Rice into the HoF while keeping out his superior teammates, Evans and Lynn. There are solid, legitimate, tangible ways to judge Hall of Fame worthiness. Use ‘em.

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  25. kick me in the GO NATS says:

    How is a career wOBA of .405 not HoF worthy???? Somebody please make me understand this, because I see it as being very much HoF worthy given than BERKMAN has done that for more than a decade!!!

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    • kick me in the GO NATS says:

      Cal Ripkens Career wOBA is .345 anyone think he should not have made the hall?

      other career wOBAs of HOFrs
      Ricky Henderson .385
      Mike Schmidt .395
      Jim Rice .375
      Pee Wee Reese .324
      Roberto Alomar .365
      Ernie Banks .358
      Wade Boggs .380
      George Brett .374
      Rod Carew .370
      Roberto Clamente .365
      Tony Gwynn .371
      Reggie Jackson .375
      Harmon Killebrew .389
      Lajoie .399

      Ok I got bored and stopped lookin up guys, but my point is that Berkman and Martinez were or are better hitters than most of the players in the HOF. Berkman has been a fairly good defender most of his career as well. Martinez was an above average defender until he became a DH because he could not stay healthy.

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      • kick me in the GO NATS says:

        Brooks Robinson career wOBA .322
        Frank Robinson .406
        Sandberg .355
        Dawson .352
        Joe Morgan .382
        Ozzie Smith .311
        Duke Snider .405
        George Sisler .396
        Stargell .387

        non Hall of famer Pete Rose .353

        Berkmann and Martinez with wOBAs of .405 are way better candidates for the HOF than Pete Rose!!!!

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      • kick me in the GO NATS says:

        Koufax played 12 seasons. I say the HOF sets that up as a minimum number of full seasons. Then, if a guys career wOBA is better than 60% of Current HOFrs over that time then a guy should be let into the Hall.

        Edagar should be in no question since he is probably in the upper 20% or so of guys.

        Berkmann needs to play a few more years, then he is in.

        Ichiro with an wOBA of only .354 career has no chance.

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      • NEPP says:

        ***Cal Ripkens Career wOBA is .345 anyone think he should not have made the hall?***

        Its almost as if the bar for shortstops is different than slugging 1B/OFs.

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      • miffleball says:

        “koufax played 12 seasons”

        and if berkman had won 3 MVPs and just missed another (and that doesn’t take into account koufax winning an MVP almost winning 2 MVP more in addition to the Cy Youngs) as well as putting up rate stats that are among the greatest of all time and multiple WS MVPs, this would be a very different discussion

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