Posted By Jeff Fletcher on December 28, 2011 12:25 pm
Because I can’t help myself and this provides a good way to procrastinate from the story I’m supposed to be writing that I really don’t feel like writing…
I’ve made it pretty clear that I don’t automatically DQ steroid users from my HOF ballot, for a lot of reasons. But I think the point that I need to make is that I’m not discounting steroids from the discussion. That’s not the case at all. In fact, I’m sort of putting steroids into the discussion for everyone.
See, I changed my whole stance on this steroid thing after the Mitchell Report came out, because that’s when I decided that no one was beyond suspicion for steroid use. If you played Major League Baseball after about 1990, and especially from 1990-2003, I think it’s very possible that you used steroids.
I’m not going to assume you did. But I’m also not going to assume you didn’t.
All I do is say: “This player played in an era when a lot of guys, for a variety of reasons not limited to steroids, put up big offensive numbers, so I must consider his numbers in that context.”
Edgar Martinez is a perfect example. I’ve said that, because he was a DH, he has to be judged on a higher standard for offense. I don’t think anyone could disagree with that. But he has to be judged on a still higher standard because of his era, even if he was clean.
(By the way, Edgar Martinez had been injured a lot and had managed only 62 homers in parts of eight years, through his age 31 season, and then he hit an average of 28 homers a year, from age 32 to 38, in 1995 to 2001.)
So, yes, Edgar Martinez had great numbers, and he had a higher OPS than Hank Aaron, but you know that he’s not better than Hank Aaron, right? The indisputable fact is that, as good as Edgar’s numbers were in a historical sense, they weren’t all that otherwordly in a Baseball-In-1998 sense.
Same goes for Rafael Palmeiro and Fred McGriff and Larry Walker and Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi and Albert Belle and Brian Giles and Carlos Delgado and … you get the idea.
To be a Hall of Famer, you’ve got to dominate the era you are in.