CLASSY MOVE BY EDGAR MARTINEZ to acknowledge the Mariners’ public relations team in his speech. Tim Hevly and his staff worked for years to make the case for Martinez, who hit .312 with a .418 on-base percentage and a .515 slugging percentage. No other player in the expansion era (since 1961) can match all three figures, with a minimum of 3,000 plate appearances.
Martinez also saluted his former manager, Lou Piniella, who was nearly elected to the Hall by the veterans committee last winter. “Missed by one vote,” Piniella said last month, at the Yankees’ old-timers day. “It was disappointing, but it’s out of my control. I felt like my accomplishments were there.”
THE PRESENCE OF BERNIE WILLIAMS, who played jazz guitar at Sunday’s ceremony, reinforced the idea that New York bias in Hall of Fame voting is a myth. Consider all the famous New York players who do not have a plaque at the Hall: David Cone, Keith Hernandez, Ron Guidry, Roger Maris, Don Mattingly, Thurman Munson, Williams. All of them won major awards and/or multiple championships, yet none received votes from even half the writers, with 75 percent required for election.
GREG MADDUX’S RATE STATISTICS were remarkably similar to Roy Halladay’s. Maddux averaged 8.5 hits per nine innings, 1.8 walks per nine and 6.1 strikeouts per nine. Halladay’s averages: 8.7, 1.9 and 6.9. Did Maddux notice the similarities?
“I did,” said Maddux, whose 355 victories are the most of any living pitcher. “I saw a better breaking ball; he probably used his breaking ball a lot better than I did. But he was a good competitor, mentally very strong, and one of those guys — he looked like he wanted to win worse than the other pitcher.”
JEFF IDELSON, who retired as the Hall of Fame president this year, gave a fun speech at a separate awards ceremony on Saturday. He mentioned that Brooks Robinson, as a boy in Little Rock, Ark., had worked a paper route that wound past Bill Dickey’s house. Robinson told Idelson that he always put a little extra zip on his toss to the Dickey home. Idelson has moved on to a new venture, Grassroots Baseball, that will promote the amateur game around the world.