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Baseball Prospectus asked this very question recently. It's a topic that deserves a hard look. My take is this: I think he needs to put up 2 more seasons comparable to his 2003 or 2004 numbers for voters to be convinced.

But Monday will be May 1st and Edmonds has yet to get it going in 2006. He's K'd 20 times in only 65 ABs and he's hitting a woeful .200/.293/.446=.739. BP, as I read it anyway, seems to think he'll be a go for the next few years. I'm not sure he even reaches production like last year's in 2006. He'll be 36 in June. Creative pharmacy and modern exercise/bodybuilding aside, there still aren't a lot of guys matching their career highs when they are 36 years old.

I look for Edmonds to dip again this year--while still playing well. But I think he has met the downside of his career. It won't be terrible, but the days of 1.000 OPS are over. He is in his 14th season, yet he has only made it to 500 or more ABs in 5 of those. His playing time will only decrease at this point.

How much does/should defense play into the matter? If we agree that Edmonds is one of if not the best defensive centerfielders of his era, shouldn't that be enough to propel him into the hall when we take into account his offensive numbers? On their own his offensive numbers are very good but not HOF numbers. But when added to a spectacular defensive career--at perhaps the toughest place to play on the field I lean toward saying yes. But then I wonder if he has had enough "sustained excellence" to be considered Hall worthy. That's why I said at the top that if he could get 2 more excellent seasons, maybe get a ring or 2000 hits or close to 400 HRs he would likely get in. So is Jim Edmonds is a Hall of Famer? Might be. I guess we just might have to wait until his career is over before we can say for sure.



Bob M. said...

He is one of the top players of the last ten years, but in the end I don't believe he is worthy of the Hall. This comes from a Cardinal fan, since 1972, living just two hours south of you on I-57. Others may disagree, and that's fine. I also have been a White Sox fan since 1977, and believe that Frank Thomas has a legitimate claim to the Hall.

Chris said...

The author of that article was a guest on the Bernie Miklasz radio show here in St. Louis yesterday morning. He made a lot of the same points he did in the article, and I tend to agree with him. Right now, my opinion is that he needs a couple more strong years and reach the 400-HR mark, but it doesn't look like he has that much left in the tank. His offensive numbers aren't much compared to HOF outfielders in general, but they're strong for a pure center fielder. The defense speaks for itself and should be a strong selling point.

The author raised the question that he says many voters consider: has he ever been the best player on his team? Edmonds has always been overshadowed by the likes of McGwire and Pujols during his time in St. Louis. He was much better than McGwire in his final years, but I don't think there's a time when I would say that he was the face of the Cardinals. He's certainly been valuable, though; especially in some postseason appearances, he's been a real game-changer.

I don't claim to be any sort of expert when it comes to this sort of thing, but it sure seems like he may finish as a borderline candidate. I'd sure love to see him get in; he's given me a lot of fond memories as a Cards fan. Beyond that, he's one of the greatest defensive fielders I've ever seen, so I suppose that counts for something.

The Zoner said...

2 comments in and we can already see that it's not clear cut. I agree with Chris that without a few more standout offensive seasons it will be hard for him.

But when you look at him defensively he's just amazing.

The whole "was he the best on his team" question doesn't seem fair. If we did that than I'm guessing we could come up with other players who aren't hall worthy.

Tim Ellsworth said...

I agree that we need a "wait and see" approach. If Edmonds stopped playing today, I don't think he qualifies for Cooperstown. Another good season or two would go a long way to increasing his chances.