Saturday January 06, 2018
'Mariano Rivera Could Not Get Him Out': #EdgarHOF
My man Joey Poz makes the case (for about the 20th time) for Edgar Martinez for the Baseball Hall of Fame. It's fun. Read the whole thing. Some highlights:
Mariano Rivera could not get him out. I don't think an amazing career like Edgar Martinez's could be summed up by just seven words, but those seven words tell a pretty good story. ...
Martinez faced Rivera 14 times [from 1995 to 2001]. Yes, it's true that half of those plate appearances were in 1995, when Rivera was a struggling starter still trying to find himself. Still, Martinez faced the great Rivera 14 times over a six-year period — and he reached base 13 times, hitting .769.
After 2000, when Rivera was ascendant and Martinez began to decline, Rivera got Martinez out a few times, but he knew this was only because Martinez was no longer himself. Still, Rivera never forgot. In '04, when Martinez was 41 and at the end, Rivera faced him in a tied game with the winning run on second base. Rivera walked him without hesitation. “I still don't know how to get him out,” Rivera admitted.
The last time the two men faced each other, Martinez rapped a single.
Thing is, just about every pitcher Martinez faced in his prime will list him as their toughest out. Pedro Martinez said he was the toughest hitter he ever faced, and Pedro was one of the few pitchers who actually had success against him. Randy Johnson said Martinez was the best hitter he ever saw. David Cone, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, all of them say the same thing; it seems like every good pitcher of the 1990s put Martinez in a different class. Other hitters did, too. Alex Rodriguez called him the best hitter he ever played with. Jeter said he was the one guy he would watch in the cage.
That realization — that Martinez was in a different class — seems like it will push him over the top in Hall of Fame voting.