Jim Edmonds and the Hall of Fame

First of all, let me apologize for not posting the last few days.  It’s been the longest drought on the site yet, and I don’t plan on having many off days, but things happen.  Anyway, I gotta say that Jim Edmonds retiring was news I didn’t want to hear.  I was really looking forward to “Jimmy Ballgame” hitting his 400th HR and 2000th base hit.  Instead, Edmonds will come up just 7 HR’s short of 400, and 51 hits shy of 2000.  I think Jim Edmonds is a Hall of Famer when you look at his body of work, but I think the ammunition against him will be stronger now.  Hopefully with voters wising up to stats like WAR and UZR, his defense will be taken into account.  Also, when you compare Edmonds to the greatest centerfielders of all-time, it’s hard not to put him into the top 10 in my opinion. 

If anyone has an argument against Edmonds being a HOF’er, I’d like to hear your argument.  Jordan, I’ve heard yours, but I get the feeling you’ll give it to me again anyway.  The problem with most arguments against Edmonds are people trying to compare him to players at other positions.  That’s not how it’s supposed to be done in a sense.  Voters should be comparing him against other players at the same position in the Hall of Fame, and those who are in the Hall of Very Good.  I got a feeling Edmonds will end up in the latter, but again, as a complete player, it will puzzle me.  There also will be some jackass writer or two that will say that Edmonds was never the best player on his team.  For the most part, they would be right, expect for year 2000.  Edmonds carried the Cardinals on his back to the playoffs, and past Atlanta in the first round.  The problem with the argument for Edmonds not being the best player on his team from 2001-2007 is that no other player in baseball would have been the best player on their team if Albert Pujols was a member of it. 

Well, let me rephrase that. Edmonds wouldn’t have been the best player on the Giants for a few years, but we all know now that Barry Bonds head and foot size increased dramatically in his late years because of steroids. So yes, if Edmonds would have been a member of the Giants in Barry Bonds late 30’s and early 40’s, he also wouldn’t have been the best player on his team.  However, he would have been the best player not on steroids.  I forget if it was the cream or the clear, but I have a feeling we’ll all find out soon enough.  Good luck with all that Bonds-Roid.

Jim Edmonds will also be punished for playing in the steroid era.  It’s really too bad.  Of course I can’t say for sure that Edmonds didn’t use, but if you look at his body of work, his body frame staying about the same, his agility, and the fact that he started going downhill about the time most of the old-timers did, I feel confident in saying that he was clean.  I want to poke some holes in the sports writers here as well, as they surely have not helped Edmonds case.  Take a look at Edmonds 2000 vs. his 2001 stats.  In 2000, Edmonds ranked 4th in the MVP voting.  His line from 2000 was as follows:

BA—.295

OBP—.411

OPS—.994

HR—42

RBI—108

Gold Glove Award—Yes

Now take a look at Edmonds stats from 2001, the year in which he did not place in the top 30 for MVP voting.  Edmonds stats from 2001:

BA—.304

OBP—.410

OPS—.974

HR—30

RBI—110

Gold Glove Award—Yes

…..the only major difference I see is 12 HR’s.  So while all the writers bitch about the steroid era now, how in hell did having as good or better year in 2001, minus 12 HR’s, drop Edmonds from 4th to nothing in MVP voting?  It’s because the writers that vote on these awards don’t know what the hell they’re doing half the time.

The last thing that will hurt Edmonds is that he only appeared in 4 All-Star games.  Again, it’s something I can’t figure out.  As an example here, in 2004, the year of the Cardinals MV3 in Pujols, Scott Rolen and Edmonds, Jimmy finished 5th in the MVP voting.  Did he make the All-Star team that year?  No, he did not.  When a player that had a BA of .301, and OBP of .418, 42 HR’s, 111 RBI, and an OPS of 1.061 (the highest in his career), as well as winning another Gold Glove Award in CF didn’t make the All-Star team that year, there’s something wrong.  It’s become too much of a popularity contest, and the way the voting is done is as about as ridiculous as you can get.  Do you really think if Edmonds would have put up those numbers playing for the Yankees or the Red Sox that year he wouldn’t have made it?  Of course he would have made it in 2004, and many more years on top of that.

My last point on Edmonds goes back to the Yankees and the Red Sox.  Do you think if Jim Edmonds would have put up the same numbers for either one of those teams he wouldn’t be a lock for the HOF?  How many more times would they have played his countless amazing catches and dramatic hits in the playoffs over and over on ESPN?  If someone can take my arguments and prove them to be pointless, feel free.

More than likely it will take Edmonds 15 years on the ballot of not getting in the HOF to then one day get in by the Veterans Committee.  There are players in the HOF who can’t hold a candle to Jim Edmonds, so hopefully his day will come.  I got a feeling it’s going to be a long time though.

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2 Responses to Jim Edmonds and the Hall of Fame

  1. david says:

    JD,

    Great article. I think Edmonds will get in sooner than you think, but that’s just me.

    Dave

  2. jstone says:

    For those that come here to read, I feel the need to mention that I have known JD since he was 7th grader with a bleach-blond mullet. That was the late 80′s. Much has changed since then. What hasn’t changed is JD’s tendency to be fiercely loyal — sometimes to a fault — to the things he loves. Jim Edmonds is no exception!

    While I made clear a few weeks back that I didn’t expect Jim Edmonds to finish this season in a Cardinal uniform, I am a bit surprised that he won’t at least start it in one. He had a great career, and I salute him for all he’s given to the fans of this great game, and to the fans of the St. Louis Cardinals. I also applaud his decision to retire. As I mentioned in an earlier post, his season with us was destined to end badly in my opinion. This spares everyone involved what I believe would have been an ugly divorce. This way he can ride into the sunset on his own terms, and no one has egg on their face.

    JD is correct that I have made my case clear as to why he won’t ever get in the Hall of Fame — even with the veterans committee. I would just like to address quickly the contention that he is one of the top 10 centerfielders of all time. While there actually are quite a few stats to support this contention, I would just to say that I believe it says more about the historical depth of the centerfield position than it does anything about Edmonds ranking among the greats of the game. Obviously this is a comical exaggeration, but it’s sort of like saying “I am the best Division III football player in the country. Why was I not drafted by the NFL?” There are different tiers of greatness. There simply are, in my opinion, not enough great centerfielders historically for his “one of the best all-time at the position” claims to hold much water with me.

    Sure, comparing apples to oranges is hard, and it’s hard to compare the demands of playing centerfield in the major leagues to the demands of another position. But despite JD’s claims to the contrary, there ARE things we can compare players with even if they play different positions. Batting average, hits, home runs, obp, etc. These are areas where we can compare a centerfielder to a catcher, a third baseman, etc. The Hall of Fame isn’t a place for the “best at a position” — that’s why there are so few relief pitchers and designated hitters in the hall — There have been some great closers, and some great designated hitters — but they have very, very little representation in the hall of fame. Edmonds may be one of the top ten centerfielders of all time, but he’s not one of the best baseball players of all time, and will soundly, and correctly, be rejected from the hall of fame as a result.

    I love him though! Thanks for the memories Jimbo!

    Jordan

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