Jim Edmonds was not elected to the Hall of Fame in 2016. He only received 2.5% of the vote, not meeting the 5.0% needed, knocking him off of the ballot. Only 11 of 440 voters viewed Edmonds as a Hall of Famer. Edmonds is often overlooked because he never won an MVP, finishing in the top five twice, and did not win a rookie of the year award. During is 17-year career, he was an All-Star only four times, and won eight Gold Gloves and one Silver Slugger. He was a member and major contributor to the 2006 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. While Edmonds doesn’t have the hardware that most Hall of Famers do, his numbers and defensive presence say otherwise.
Lets start with his offensive numbers. Over his 17 years in Major League Baseball, Edmonds hit .284, belting 393 home runs and driving in 1,199 runs. Edmonds’ production began to decline after 2008, due to post-concussion syndrome during the 2007 season and an Achilles injury in 2010, which caused him to retire after that season. While Edmonds would have certainly had better career offensive numbers if he stayed healthy, the BBWAA doesn’t consider “what its” when voting. So lets compare Edmonds numbers to Ken Griffey Jr’s. Edmonds batted .284 for his career, as did Junior. Edmonds had a career .376 OBP, while Griffey had a .370 OBP. Edmonds .527 slugging percentage was slightly behind Griffey’s .538. But lets take things one step further.
Baseball Reference has a cool little feature that calculates a player’s 162 game average, showing what, on average, a player would do during a typical 162-game season. Griffey’s 162-game average has him belting 38 home runs, driving in 111 RBIs and hitting .284. Edmonds’ average is .284, 32 home runs, and 97 RBIs. These stats are very similar for two guys who had drastically different percentages from the BBWAA. Griffey was named on all but three ballots.
Now, Jim Edmonds was more know for his defense than his offense. Edmonds was a very good hitter, but is also one of the best center fielders in baseball history. He has some highlight reel catches during his career, including these two, which are some of the best in history and led him to eight gold glove awards.
Now some people can make a case that yeah he just made a great catch every now and again, so what. Let’s have a look at Edmonds’ JAWS score among center fielders. This statistic takes into consideration offensive and defensive contributions throughout a player’s career. His 60.3 JAWS WAR is 14th all time compared to center fielders, behind 10 Hall of Famers, Andruw Jones who isn’t eligible for the ballot until 2018, Carlos Beltran who is still active, and Kenny Lofton who already fell off the ballot. Edmonds’ 60.3 WAR is better than nine Hall of Fame center fielders, whose WAR goes as low as 24.1. This goes to show just how good Edmonds was throughout his career, and how dominant he was out in center field.
Jim Edmonds was a great player throughout his career. No doubt about that. He is one of the best center fielders of all time. His numbers might not blow you away, but they are impressive and are among the best in baseball history at his position. Jim Edmonds deserved more consideration for the Hall of Fame, instead of being disregarded with only 2.5% of the vote in 2016. It’s a shame that Edmonds was one and done, and won’t have the chance again to make a run at immortality.
Pour one out for Edmonds tonight. He deserved better.