From the desk of Senior Campaign Chair Nathaniel Bishop
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
My friends, we live in a time fraught with danger. A time that sees the very fabric of our democracy threatened by the backward thinking that stifles innovation, and risks miring us in a bygone age of mere batting average and RBI. A time that hold the innings of a designated hitter in lesser regard than those of a reliever. But in this time, one ticket can unite us in common purpose and restore baseball's greatness. It is with great humility and great hope that we formally announce Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez's 2016 candidacy for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Today, Griffey-Edgar 2016 is born.
Baseball's greatness lies in its democratic spirit. Not only its ability to bring people together to worship in the thirty great churches that dot the American landscape, but in the diversity of bodies in motion we see on the field. The graceful, quick twitches of a Griffey, so swift and yet so smooth. And the raw, undeniable power of an Edgar, so lumbering when running the basepaths and yet so deadly. This simple statement of democracy leaves indelible traces on the American imagination, and it captures us today.
This team may seem unlikely. In Griffey, we have a man destined for the Hall of Fame, one who may do what Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Babe Ruth were unable to do before him: be unanimously selected into the Hall. Edgar's path has been a more circuitous one; disappointed by the sting of defeat these past years, he remains a cautionary tale of what can happen when half the League appreciates the aesthetic of pitchers flailing limply at the plate. Yet these men come together yet again, teammates in the twilight of their careers, ready to serve baseball and be recognized in their turn.
In his first inaugural address, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt told a nation brought low by the Depression, "This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today." Today, the same great challenge faces us. And the challenge is this: When will old, stubborn doofuses stop punishing a great man for playing the role his team asked him to play, and which he played to such perfection?
Let us no longer be a nation divided; let us heal the deep wounds inflicted by the designated hitter. Let brother embrace brother and admit the mistakes of the past. Let us accept the simple truth: we don't really want to see pitchers hit anyway because they are pretty lousy at it.* Let us realize that when the best realizer of recent memory routinely got his soon to be Hall of Fame enshrined behind owned, and I mean truly, soul-shakingly, deeply owned, by the man for whom the designated hitter award is motherfuckin' named, that said batter and his light bat (oh you don't know about light bat?) deserves your vote. And let us linger on the fact that in the 23 PA Edgar had again Rivera, he slashed .579/.652/1.053.
Bertrand Russell said that, "The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt." I don't know if he was talking about those who wish to deny Edgar a place in the Hall of Fame by virtue of the fact that he was a designated hitter, while feverishly counting the days until they can vote for Trevor Hoffman and Rivera when his day comes. I don't know if he was. But I would demand evidence that he was not.
This seems an appropriate time to mention that we do not want National League writers, stubbornly committed to their anti-DH stance, to contract dysentery on their wagon train to Cooperstown or otherwise perish. We wouldn't necessarily be opposed to them stepping on a Lego on their way to the mailbox, causing their Edgar-less ballots to fall into a storm drain, lost forever to raging waters of why the hell aren't you voting for Edgar. Mostly, we hope that you will come to realize that the lifeblood of any democracy is a well informed electorate. Our forefathers may have been blind to the power of OBP, to the merits of contact, to the grace of power, but those who watched the Mariners in 1995 are not. Those who look at Edgar's career are not so easily deterred. Those who saw Griffey's sweet, sweet swing, and great leaps, will march on. We stand for controlling at-bats. For sweet swings and intimidating stares. For summer nights with a beer and a hot dog. For leaping outfield defense and Doubles that redefine a franchise. For doing your job, and doing it well.
It is perhaps no mistake that these two pillars of excellence, these paragons of hitting, that these two men were involved in the most iconic moment in Seattle sports history. Edgar, the decisive bat; Griffey, the swift runner, unwilling to be denied. This moment was a declaration of purpose, a clarion call to the weak and the downtrodden fans of Seattle, that we would not go quiet into that good night. Little did we know that this iconic play would continue to serve as a rallying cry for a franchise attempting to move forward, to give rise to the better angels of our natures.
We do not have the power to do this alone. Like all movements, we require a chorus of voices, a din too loud to drown out. As Edgar himself told David Laurila, "For some players, it's not easy to make a change, because they've done the same thing for so long...Breaking a habit is difficult and it takes time It's hard to make an adjustment like that - a bigger adjustment - in the middle of the season." But change we must. Too long, we have denied what is true. Now, we can all move forward together.
So we urge you, voting members of the BBWAA to make the right choice. To vote for things, not as they are, but as they ought to be. To recognize that the only ticket that makes sense for 2016 is the one steeped in experience; the one with the sweetest swing. We urge you not to be terrible and dumb. Vote Edgar/Griffey 2016.
Thank you, and may God continue to bless America, but most especially during the 7th inning.
(Special thanks to Communications Director Jose Rivera for his pitch perfect design of the Griffey-Edgar 2016 Campaign banner)