Last year, Mariners DH Edgar Martinez narrowly missed out on induction to the Hall of Fame. It was a narrow margin with him falling just 20 votes short. With him falling that short, people who support his induction into the Hall of Fame are going to find any argument they can to push him over the hump.
With him now appearing on the same ballot as Mariano Rivera, you will be naturally inclined to look at their head-to-head stats. In fact, it is popping up all over the place already:
You're going to see this stat a lot, but here goes: Edgar Martinez vs. first-time HOF candidate Mariano Rivera: 11-for-19, 3 doubles, 2 HR, .579/.652/1.053
— Larry Stone (@StoneLarry) November 19, 2018
#Mariners Edgar Martinez faced Mariano Rivera 23 times in his career. He batted .579/.652/1.053.
"He had more than my number. He had my breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He got everything from me." – Mariano Rivera (2003)
— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) November 22, 2017
Do you know what Martinez’s stats against Rivera tell us? It tells us he hit Rivera really well. That’s it. Trying to garner any more information from that is just plain wrong. Really, hitting well against Rivera is not a barometer for Hall of Fame induction.
If it was, this means the Hall of Fame is going to have to really open it’s doors to include far more players.
Andruw Jones, who is also on this year’s ballot is 3-for-5 with a homer off Rivera. Since we are now looking at stats against Rivera, shouldn’t he now get enough votes to push him over the 75%? Shouldn’t the Veterans’ Committee also revisit the cases of Sandy Alomar (.462/.462/.846) and Aubrey Huff (.400/.429/.800)?
Looking forward, 2016 World Series MVP Ben Zobrist is 3-for-4 against Rivera with two doubles and a triple. Curtis Granderson is 2-for-5 with a homer off Rivera. Are these both now automatic inductions when they reach the ballot?
Let’s look at things from a different perspective. Martinez was 2-for-36 against Alex Fernandez. This is the same Fernandez who did not receive one Hall of Fame vote. Considering Fernandez did not garner even one Hall of Fame vote, and Martinez did not perform well against him, does this now mean Martinez should not receive any Hall of Fame votes?
Of course not because that is a vapid argument.
The success or failures against any particular pitcher does not define a career. What defines a career is what was done on the field for at least 10 years, or in Martinez’s case 18 years.
Personally, I do not see him as a Hall of Famer. He did not hit any of the proverbial magic marks like fellow DHs Frank Thomas (500 homers) or Paul Molitor (3,000 hits) reached. If you look at it, Frank Thomas is the standard bearer for inducting DHs into the Hall of Fame.
If you look at Thomas as the standard, Martinez falls short. Others feel differently, and they raise some valid arguments. That is what makes Edgar Martinez’s candidacy such an interesting debate. That debate gets less interesting when you raise his stats against one pitcher or another. That’s just raising interesting factoids which does not move the needle at all.
Because if it did, you wouldn’t give him one vote due to his numbers against Fernandez.
When determining which team to root for this postseason, the general rule of thumb is to root against the Mets rivals. With the Mets making a number of trades this season, you could also root for teams according to their Mets connections:
East – Boston Red Sox
Assistant Pitching Coach – Brian Bannister (2006)
Bannister made the Mets out if Spring Training in 2006. His tenure was short lived as he injured his hamstring, and Omar Minaya rebuilt the rotation in-season pushing a healthy Bannister out. He’d be moved that offseason in an ill-fated trade for Ambiorix Burgos.
RHP Blaine Boyer (2011)
Boyer pitched just five games for the Mets before leaving via free agency. He would not pitch in the majors again until 2014.
RHP Addison Reed (2015 – 2017)
Acquired on the eve of September, Reed quickly became an important seventh inning reliever on the Mets pennant winning team. He was even better the next season helping pitch the Mets back to the postseason. With Jeurys Familia‘s suspension and injury, Reed became an effective closer before being traded for a trio of Red Sox relief prospects at the trade deadline.
OF Chris Young (2014)
After a few down years, the Mets took a one year gamble on Young. He struggled all year, and he was released with the Mets eight games under .500 and 10.5 games back in the division. Since that time, Young has been a much more effective player.
Central – Cleveland Indians
First Base Coach Sandy Alomar, Jr. (2007 – 2009)
Alomar ended his playing career playing eight games with the Mets in 2007. He would then begin his coaching career with the Mets serving two years as a special catching instructor.
RF Jay Bruce (2016-2017)
Bruce went from bust who struggled mightily after being acquired at the trade deadline last year to fan favorite this year. Fortunately for the Indians, Bruce wouldn’t repeat his struggles helping propel the Indians to 102 wins.
RHP Joe Smith (2007 – 2008)
Smith went straight from being a third round draft pick in 2006 to being a very good reliever for the Mets in two seasons. Ironically, he moved as part the three team J.J. Putz trade intended to improve the Mets bullpen.
West – Houston Astros
DH Carlos Beltran (2005 – 2011)
Seeing him in the postseason again will certainly evoke memories of Adam Wainwright, but he was so much more than that in a Mets uniform. Beltran was the best center fielder in Mets history and perhaps their best outfielder ever.
C Juan Ceteno (2013 – 2014)
Ceteno is a strong defensive catcher who played just 14 games over two years before he was claimed off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Bench Coach Alex Cora (2009 – 2010)
Cora joined the Mets in the hopes of being an important utility player on a playoff caliber team. Unfortunately, injuries and a ballpark ill-suited for the talents of the players on the roster brought that run to an end.
Hitting Coach Dave Hudgens (2011 – 2014)
Hudgens was the Mets hitting coach who was entrusted with helping the Mets adapt to a new ballpark. While he was much embattled in the position, Mets offensive highlights during his tenure included Ike Davis hitting 30 homers and the last great season from David Wright.
Pitching Coach Brent Strom (1972)
Strom was the Mets 1970 first round draft pick. He appeared in just one season with the team going 0-3 with a 6.82 ERA and a 1.615 WHIP.
Third Base Coach Gary Pettis (2003 – 2004)
Pettis served as the first base and outfield coach during the Art Howe Era.
Wild Card – New York Yankees
RHP Luis Cessa
Cessa was the other pitching prospect the Mets sent to the Tigers in the Yoenis Cespedes trade.
Wild Card – Minnesota Twins
Pitching Coach Neil Allen (1979 – 1983)
While Allen had a noteworthy Mets career of his own, he will forever be known as one of the two players traded by the Mets in exchange for Keith Hernandez.
RHP Bartolo Colon (2014 – 2016)
“Big Sexy” became a fan favorite and a mentor to the young pitchers in the clubhouse. There are a number of highlights you can choose from his Mets career, but the one that keeps coming to mind was the unbelievable home run he hit in San Diego last year.
RHP Dillon Gee (2010 – 2015)
Gee is an example of a pitcher who has gotten everything out of his ability. He has been resilient overcoming a number of injuries in his career with his career highlight possibly being his named the Mets 2014 Opening Day starter.
East – Washington Nationals
OF Alejandro De Aza (2016)
De Aza had an interesting year with the Mets. He was terrible to begin the year, and he then had a great July helping propel the Mets second half run to the Wild Card.
Pitching Coach Mike Maddux (1993 – 1994)
Maddux pitched two years for the Mets pitching to a 4.16 ERA as a reliever before departing via free agency.
2B Daniel Murphy (2008 – 2015)
Somehow Murphy has become one of the most divisive players among the Mets fanbase. Many still fondly remember his for his time witht he Mets, especially his incredible NLDS and NLCS propelling the Mets to the pennant. Others see a player who annihilates the Mets since leaving the team.
LHP Oliver Perez (2006 – 2010)
Believe it or not, there was a time where Perez was beloved for his Game 7 performance and his start the final game of the 2008 season. He then fell off a cliff upon receiving a huge contract. Things got so bad, he refused a minor league assignment, and his last appearance as a Met would be the team throwing him into the 14th inning on the last game of the season just to get the game over with.
Central – Cubs
Quality Control Coach Henry Blanco (2010)
“Hank White” was brought on as a defensive back-up, and he excelled in the role throwing out 50% of base stealers.
C Rene Rivera (2016 – 2017)
Rivera was a defensive specialist who helped Noah Syndergaard overcome his issues holding on base runners. It was more than Syndergaard, Rivera served as a mentor for young starters Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman who helped pitch the Mets to the Wild Card.
West – Dodgers
Bench Coach Bob Geren (2012 – 2015)
Geren served as the bench coach for the Mets serving as a mentor for the Mets catchers. Since his departure, we have seen Mets catchers regress in their pitch framing, and we have certainly seen Travis d’Arnaud regress in nearly every aspect of his game.
OF Curtis Granderson (2014 – 2017)
Granderson is one of the finest men to ever put on a Mets uniform. He also came up biggest when the Mets needed him most. Granderson kept the Mets afloat in 2015, and if not for some blown leads, he was in line to be the MVP of that series. His big outburst to end the 2016 season helped lead the Mets back to the postseason.
3B Justin Turner (2010 – 2013)
Turner was an effective utility player in his years with the Mets who was really non-tendered because he was arbitration eligible. Turner would find himself a home in Los Angeles where he has become a terrific player.
Third Base Coach Chris Woodward (2005 – 2006)
Woodward was a valuable utility player for the Mets for two seasons having the second best season of his entire career in 2005.
Wild Card – Diamondbacks
RHP Matt Koch (2012 – 2015)
Koch was one of the two minor league pitchers traded by the Mets for Addison Reed. While Koch is on the 40 man roster, it is not expected he will be on the postseason roster.
Wild Card – Rockies
Based on the sheer volume of Mets affiliations, it would appear Mets fans would be pulling for the Astros in the American League and either the Nationals or Dodgers in the National League. Considering the presence of Chase Utley on the Dodgers and the recent rivalry with the Nationals, most Mets fans will understandably choose rooting interests for different reasons all together.
Unless you want to wax poetic about Indians First Base Coach Sandy Alomar, Jr.‘s eight game stint in 2007 with the Mets to close out his career, there is no real connection for Mets fans to the players and coaches from either team. There isn’t much of a connection between these two teams because Juan Uribe was released by the Indians on August 5th of this year.
It is a shame too because Uribe was a fun player to watch. He was the rare player that seemingly brought more to the table than just his statistics. He was a clubhouse leader from the moment he stepped foot in Flushing, and he knew how to keep a team loose. It was one thing he has prided himself on with him saying, “The one thing I can do is be a good teammate. Players are your family. I just try to be the same guy every day. You play good, you play bad, be the same guy.” (northjersey.com).
There were great stories with him joking around with David Wright about when he was going to come back to the Mets. There were stories of him breaking out the cigars after a win. He was the guy who was blasting Backstreet Boys in the clubhouse to the amusement of his teammates. He was also the guy who chided teammates for watching football over baseball in the clubhouse. Uribe was a guy that keeps baseball fun for everyone around him.
Still, Uribe was more than a character, he was a baseball player, who had a positive impact on the field. Right from the beginning, Uribe made an impression with the Mets. In his third at-bat with the team, he had a walkoff single off the left-center field wall to get the Mets a split with the Dodgers:
Overall, he did a great job filling in for the injured Wright, and he accepted his part as a bench player down the stretch. Unfortunately for him, he would have a cartilage issue with his chest that would prevent him from playing in the NLDS or the NLCS. He worked hard to be able to play again, and Uribe would actually make his way onto the World Series roster. The reward for his hard work was a pinch hit RBI single in his only World Series plate appearance:
Uribe earned that chance, and he made the most of it. In many ways, it is hard to believe the Mets would have even been in that position without his leadership and play on the field.
Even with him being cut by the Indians, his fingerprints are all over that team as well.
Jose Ramirez, the player who took over third base from Urib said, “I always mess around with him and call him Dad. I respect him a lot. (cleveland.com). Like the proud Dad Uribe was purported to be, he was always generous with the younger players as Ramirez said, “He has so much experience and he wants to transmit that to the younger players.”
On of the longest tenured Indians, Carlos Santana, said, “Uribe is good to have around. He gives the team good energy.”
Francona noted despite Uribe’s histrionics, he’s a “calming influence” in the clubhouse saying, “He’s always smiling. He goes, ‘Hey, play me when you want. Just tell me where to go.’ He’s been there and done it many times. I know that when he talks, they listen. Everybody enjoys him. I mean, how could you not?”
Certainly, the Mets and Mets fans enjoyed Uribe when he was in New York. Even when Uribe is not around, you can see the effect he has had on another team that is playing for the World Series. Even though he will get a ring with an Indians World Series victory, it is a shame he will not be on the field or in the dugout to celebrate with a team he left an indelible impression. It is a shame Uribe never caught on with another team at the end of the 2016 season.
Baseball is better when Uribe is around, and his presence alone makes teams better. Even if it is not as a player, we should all hope that Uribe finds his way into an organization in some capacity in 2017. Hopefully, that will be with the Mets.