Let’s start this out with some definitions. A Hall of Fame is defined as, “a group of individuals in a particular category (such as a sport) who have been selected as particularly illustrious.” Shit, now let’s define illustrious, “well known, respected, and admired for past achievements.” God damnit, let’s define achievement, “the process or fact of achieving something.” There we go.
Mike Mussina and Edgar Martinez did not achieve anything of note, therefore they are not Hall of Fame baseball players.
When I think of Hall of Fame baseball players, I think of moments, or achievements attached to those players. Willie Mays – the catch, Hank Aaron – rounding the bases after he hit 756, Joe DiMaggio – stepping through the paper 56 sign after his hit streak, Babe Ruth – swinging in that old timey video where you can kind of see his massive dong, Lou Gehrig – the luckiest man speech, Ken Griffey Jr – being the villain in Little Big League. When I think of Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina, I think of… nothing.
Nothing comes to mind when I think of those players. I know Edgar was a good hitter. I’m pretty sure Mike Mussina was consistently OK.
Neither player won anything. Edgar Martinez played for 18 years and won a couple playoff series. Mike Mussina played for the Yankees for 8 years in the 2000’s and somehow didn’t win a World Series. He showed up immediately after they won three straight, only to leave before the Yankees won it all in ’09. For me, to be considered one of the best players of all time, you would need to make a more significant impact on a franchise than what those to players were able to do.
Mike Mussina never won any major awards. He placed 2nd in Cy Young voting one time, in 1999. He was an all star 5 times in his 18 year career. He was one of the best players in his league less than 1/3 of the years he pitched in the major leagues.
Edgar Martinez never won any major awards. He placed 3rd in MVP voting once, in 1995. He was an all star 7 times in his 18 year career, a little over 1/3 of the years he played in the Major Leagues. Oh wait, he was the recipient of the Edgar Martinez Award 5 times. My bad. He also was primarily a DH and never even played a full 162 game season.
Yes, both players were pretty good at baseball. Yes, they are better than most to have played the game. But are they among the best of all time? Were they icons that changed the game? No, not even close.