It's time to have another look at Edmonds. Here is what I thought last year.
Edmonds showed no sign of age in 2005, as he hit .263/.385/.533 in 550 PAs and again delivered Gold Glove quality defence in center at age 35. His run of greatness is now at 6 years.
Here is his 2005 chart of comparables:
Player G AB H HR W BA OBP SLUG OPS+
Edmonds 1587 5557 1619 331 825 .291 .384 .543 138 Smith 1840 6649 1914 285 837 .288 .366 .491 138 Lynn 1648 5985 1732 264 755 .289 .368 .495 132 Snider 1923 6640 1995 389 893 .300 .384 .553 143 Doby 1533 5348 1515 253 871 .283 .386 .490 136 Averill 1668 6353 2019 238 774 .318 .395 .534 133
Edmonds has been a far superior defensive centerfielder over his career than Reggie Smith, Fred Lynn, Duke Snider, Larry Doby or Earl Averill. If he keeps this up for another 2 or 3 seasons, it will be clear that he has been a better player than any of them.
In the history of baseball, there have been 5 inner circle Hall of Famer centerfielders: Cobb, Speaker, DiMaggio, Mays and Mantle. After that, you've got Fred Clarke, who was a great offensive and defensive player for a long time, and Ken Griffey Jr., who was one of the three best players in baseball in the early 90s and who will probably hit 600 homers. And then, there are the others- Edd Roush, Kiki Cuyler, Earl Averill, Larry Doby, Duke Snider, Richie Ashburn, Jimmie Wynn, Reggie Smith, Fred Lynn, Bernie Williams and Jim Edmonds. All of the players who played in the 20s through 50s (ending in Ashburn) are in the Hall; none of the players who came after are there, yet. That cannot continue indefinitely.
At a lower level, some of the Hall decisions are difficult to explain, like the admissions of Max Carey or Lloyd Waner.
Edmonds is, in my view, right near the top of the Roush, Cuyler, Averill, Doby group. That, of course, would not guarantee entry to the Hall. So, Bauxites, what do you think of him now? And if you don't think Edmonds is Hall-worthy, who do you think has been the best centerfielder in baseball after Griffey Jr. during the period 1965-2005 (Mays being treated as a 55-65 player)?