Is Jim Edmonds a Hall of Famer?


Four players were voted into Cooperstown earlier this month, making it the perfect time to talk about next year’s class of newly eligible candidates! Actually, if you were unable to detect the sarcasm, that is a lie. But there has been minimal interesting offseason activity taking place over the past few weeks, and there is nothing I dislike more than trite content, so I am getting an early start and writing about a guy named Jim Edmonds who is not getting talked about nearly enough in terms of his potential to be inducted into Cooperstown. Now, I do not expect Edmonds to get in next year or many years after that, but that does not mean he shouldn’t get in. Edmonds, in a fair world, is a Hall of Famer.

Ten seasons of 25 plus long balls, eight Gold Glove awards, and ten seasons north of a 4.0 fWAR would render any player, at the very least, a really good player. Add that to the fact Edmonds played one of the toughest positions on the diamond for the majority of his career in center field, and we are approaching a borderline great player. I do not think many would take issue with me asserting the left-handed hitter is a great player, but it does not seem, to me, that many are crazy about the idea of stating Jim Edmonds as a Hall of Famer. But if fellow center fielders Andre Dawson (yes, Dawson played slightly more innings in right than center) and Duke Snider are Hall of Famers, then, frankly, so is Edmonds.

First of all, Edmonds’ career 64.0 fWAR tops both Snider (63.5 fWAR) and Dawson’s (59.5 fWAR). fWAR is not by any means the end all, be all — as I have said numerous times on this very site — especially with the inaccuracy of defensive metrics before 2002, but it is nonetheless a good starting point to compare the three players.

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On the defensive side of things, I am fairly confident asserting that Edmonds was the best defender amongst the group. This is something that the defensive values found on Fangraphs heavily concurs with, but, again, one should look at those defensive values with a grain of salt. In the aggregate, however, I do not think many would quibble with the claim that Edmonds was a superior defender over Snider and Dawson, although nothing is concrete.

Because it is relatively simple to compare offensive stats across different eras due to the fact people a lot smarter than me have already done so, we can legitimately rank the three from an offensive perspective using the statistic wRC+ (weighted runs created plus). Snider leads the pack with a 139 wRC+, followed by Edmonds’ 132 wRC+ and rounding out the list is Dawson with his — in comparison to the other two outfielders — mediocre 117 wRC+.

Here are their respective other more or less important batting stats even though they are not adjusted for era.

Edmonds: 67 SB, 393 HR, .376 OBP and .527 SLG

Snider: 99 SB, 407 HR, .380 OBP and .540 SLG

Dawson: 314 SB, 438 HR, .323 OBP, .482 SLG

As we wrap things up here, I can see a few opinions that could possibly stem from this article. You could reasonably conclude that Snider was overall a better player than Edmonds. You could also argue that Andre Dawson should not be in the Hall to begin with; therefore, thinking Edmonds is a Hall of Famer because Dawson is one is asinine. If one was to believe that last sentence, I’d say you’d be half right. Dawson probably shouldn’t be in the Hall, but the sheer fact is that he is. Despite Edmonds maybe not meeting your standards of a Hall of Famer, the voters set the standard by electing Dawson. And unless you can actually argue that Dawson was a better player than Edmonds, then, well, it is within my personal beliefs that Jim Edmonds belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame.