St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels legend Jim Edmonds is one of the best players to play in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In fact, you could easily contend that he had a career that was good enough to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
St. Louis Cardinals and L.A. Angels legend Jim Edmonds had a career worthy of the Baseball Hall of Fame
Jim Edmonds played for parts of 17 seasons in the majors from 1993 through 2010 and he spent parts of eight seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and parts of seven with the Los Angeles Angels (then named the California Angels and later the Anaheim Angels).
He was a four-time All-Star, a Silver Slugger winner, an eight-time Gold Glove winner, and he received MVP votes in six seasons which included two top 5 finishes.. Despite being known for his defense, Edmonds was a great offensive player.
In his career, he hit .284/.376/.527 with an OPS+ of 132. He had six seasons with at least 135 games played in which he had an OBP of .385 or better. He also had 10 seasons with 25 or more homers and nine seasons with 80 or more RBI.
He also had nine seasons with an rWAR of 4.0 or better and another season at 3.7. Overall in his career, he had a 60.4 rWAR, which puts him in Hall of Fame territory.
In fact, that rWAR is the same exact rWAR as Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew. Below Edmonds in rWAR (and within 1.0 rWAR) are Hall of Famers Dazzy Vance, Yogi Berra, Vladimir Guerrero, Sr., Mike Piazza, and Jim Bunning.
Offensively, his 132 OPS+ is in Hall of Fame territory too. Edmonds’ contemporary, Ken Griffey, Jr., had a career OPS+ of 136. Hall of Fame center fielder Kirby Puckett has a career OPS+ of 124 and Andre Dawson’s OPS+ was 119.
Defensively, Edmonds was very good but not as good as you may think, particularly with the modern stat Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). He had -8 DRS in his career … but that’s not the whole story. DRS was not created until 2003, when Edmonds was in his age 33 season. He was above league average was DRS through 2005 (the last year he won a Gold Glove) but after that, he had -20 DRS.
So to encapsulate his whole career, we have to look at his Total Zone Runs (TZ or Rtot), which is the predecessor to DRS. In his career, he had 83 TZ as an outfielder (80 TZ total), which is equivalent to just under 5 TZ per season.
Despite all of this, when Edmonds was first eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in 2015 for the Class of 2016, he received just 2.5 percent of the vote and he fell off of the ballot.
The Modern Baseball Era Committee should heavily consider Edmonds before for the ballot next offseason, when they will have a lot of players that they should consider in the coming years.