Ray Guy has finally, after way too many years, been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is the first Punter to be inducted, and has earned the honor due to being widely considered as the greatest Punter to ever play in the NFL. As Guy breaks one barrier, Edgar Martinez patiently waits in his Bellevue, Wash. home to gain his own pass to the Baseball Hall of Fame. After his voting percentage dropped more than 10% between 2013 and 2014, it appears very unlikely Martinez will make the Hall. For the sole reason that he was a Designated Hitter throughout his 17-season career, all played with the Seattle Mariners.
Guy’s selection was, as mentioned, long overdue. Guy was selected to seven Pro Bowls, along with averaging 42 yards per punt throughout his career and having 210 punts inside the 20-yard line. A famous accomplishment of Guy is that he was the first player to punt a ball that hit the scoreboard at the Louisiana Superdome. Done during the 1976 Pro Bowl, Guy’s punt forced the stadium to raise the scoreboard form 90-feet to 200. Guy retired in 1990, and his respect and admiration has remained. He is the second Special Teams player to be selected, joining Place Kicker Jan Stenerud.
The fact that Guy took this long to get into the Hall is surprising. If he couldn’t make it into the Hall, no Punter ever could. This opens the door for players like Shane Lechler, who has been the top Punter of the 2000’s to at least get a chance. The Hall of Fame should be for the best players, and dominating a position for an entire decade makes a player the best.
Martinez, as mentioned, saw a major drop in his voting percentage. A player needs 75% of voters to vote for him in order to enter the Hall. Dropping in that percentage, even a little, has notoriously been an enshrinement death sentence. Once a player falls out of favor with a few voters, they tend to never vote for the player ever again. Martinez will be a victim of a role. After injuring his hamstring in an exhibition game early in his career, Martinez was forced to move to the DH spot, a spot which he never moved from. Martinez has a good stat line, 309 Home Runs, 1,261 RBI’s, and a .312 Batting Average. Martinez also finished his career with 512 doubles. He was a major part of the Mariners staying in Seattle, and won the 2004 Roberto Clemente Award for sportsmanship, community involvement and contribution to team. He was also inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in 2007.
With Guy in the Hall of Fame, we can only hope that voters in the MLB eventually accept the likes of Martinez, David Ortiz and to a lesser extent Jim Thome. Regardless of their fielding ability, much like Guy’s lack of contribution to a team’s offense or defense, their outstanding play at their designated positions merits inclusion into their respective Hall of Fames.