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Should Pedro Martinez be in the Hall of Fame?

Vote for Pedro

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

If you're a Tribe fan, you can be forgiven for holding a grudge against Pedro Martinez. In the win-or-go-home Game 5 of the 1999 ALCS, Pedro entered the game for the 4th inning with the scored tied 8-8 and pitched six innings of no-hit relief as the Indians were eliminated. Additionally, in 16 regular season games, Tribe hitters managed a batting line of just .178/.223/.275 against Martinez, whose ERA against Cleveland was 1.77. For those reasons, while Pedro may not be beloved among Indians fans, his status as an excellent pitcher is probably fairly well cemented.

The case for Martinez as a Hall of Famer

His career ERA of 2.93 is the best of any pitcher with 1,000 innings in the last 40 years, as are his 1.054 WHIP and his .687 winning percentage.

He is one of just 16 pitchers with 3,000+ career strikeouts, and his K/9 of 10.04 is 3rd highest in history. Among the top 20 on that list, Pedro's 2.42 BB/9 is the lowest. Few have ever been able to fool batters so frequently without also walking a fair share.

Martinez amassed 86.0 WAR at Baseball-Reference, well above the 73.4 of the average Hall of Fame starter, or the 66.2 of the median Hall of Fame starter. (He has an even more impressive 87.1 WAR at FanGraphs.)

He won three well-deserved Cy Young Awards and had a decent case for winning at least a couple more. He led the league in ERA five times, also leading the league in ERA+ and FIP in each of those seasons.

Only 26 qualified pitchers have ever had a season with an ERA+ of 200 or better. Only five pitchers have ever had more than one season like that. Topping them all is Pedro, who accomplished it five times by succeeding during the greatest hitters' era in baseball history.

I don't really think "feel" should play much of a role in a player's Hall of Fame case, but if you're the sort who does, Pedro certainly clears that bar. During his peak his starts felt like events, something to clear your evening for if you had the opportunity to watch.

The case against Martinez as a Hall of Famer

His 2827.1 innings are fewer than all but five Hall of Fame starters, so he didn't do what he did for as long as most. His 219 wins are also on the low side for Hall of Famers. The most recent Hall of Famer (in terms of when they retired) with fewer than 220 wins was Don Drysdale, who last pitched in 1969.

My two cents

This one is an easy call. Whatever concerns one might have about his candidacy based on his relative lack of longevity should be washed away by the tidal wave that is Pedro's peak, for which a reasonable argument can be made as the greatest by any pitcher ever. His ERA+ of 154 is in fact the best by any starter ever.

His 86 WAR rank 17th, which is great. WAR gives players credit for being average though, and there's certainly value in that. There's not really greatness in it though, which is why there's also WAA, wins above average. Pedro's 61.3 WAA rank 10th all-time. Take every pitcher's WAR or WAA and divide it by their innings pitched, and Pedro moves to #1.

There is no reasonable case against Martinez's Hall of Fame candidacy,