It’s Sunday, which means it’s Edgar Article in Review Day, for you to peruse as you wait in line for brunch (the hash browns at Glo’s are worth it), or at Costco with a shopping cart stuffed full of Thanksgiving treats, or wherever you may be. Today’s article comes from Forbes magazine, so wipe that chocolate off your chin and put on some pants, we’re having our rich cousins over. Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., which is an appropriately Forbes-y sounding name in that it could belong to a oil tycoon or a 1980s serial killer, spends the first page of his article “The Cooperstown Debates Begin for David Ortiz but let’s not forget about Edgar Martinez” going over the case for David Ortiz’s candidacy, so you can basically skim that.
The second page of the article gets more into the nitty-gritty stats regarding Edgar’s candidacy, including his appearance on the Play Index leaderboards among other Hall of Famers. McDonnell, who writes about the business of baseball, has an interesting focus on the role of the Designated Hitter with respect to the business aspect of baseball. Certainly, the kinds of offensive fireworks provided by DHs draw people to the ballparks, and as McDonnell concludes:
In any event, several ball players who have played this position since its inception in the American League in 1973 have made noteworthy contributions to the sport and a select few should be appropriately recognized with the sport’s greatest honor for their achievements.
McDonnell concludes with an examination of the Today’s Game Era ballot, which will be reviewed by a sixteen-member committee at the Winter Meetings. Of the ten names on the ballot, two are mostly known as DHs: Harold Baines and Mark McGwire. Their inclusion or exclusion could be bellwethers for how DHs like Martinez and Ortiz fare in coming elections. Furthermore, McDonnell sees their inclusion on the ballot as a gentle reminder:
However, a strong message is clearly being sent to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America regarding the role of the designated hitter in baseball’s history and how ball players who were associated with performance enhancing substances should be evaluated when it comes to bestowing baseball’s highest honor. The mere inclusion of Baines and McGwire is a gentle recommendation to everyone that we might have to reassess our current thinking regarding these matters.
McDonnell argues that Ortiz’s retirement may spark a renewed interest in Edgar’s candidacy; as opposed to arguing the differences between the players, he chooses to see similarities between them, which is refreshing. It may well be that Big Papi’s highly publicized farewell tour gets the crustier side of the BBWAA thinking more about recognizing the achievements of the DH. Between Ortiz’s retirement and Edgar’s higher-profile role as hitting coach for the offensive powerhouse Seattle Mariners, as well as the shifting demographics of the voting base, there is an argument that voters might throw significantly more support behind Edgar this year. The question is, as always: will it be enough?