Skip to content

Rafael Palmeiro is probably going to fall off the Hall of Fame ballot this year

Nov 29, 2013, 12:32 PM EDT

Palmeiro Orioles

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun asks whether Rafael Palmeiro is going to fall off the Hall of Fame ballot. And he lands where I land: probably.

As Connolly notes, Palmeiro’s support in his three years on the ballot is not trending in a good direction for him. In his first year of eligibility he was named on 11 percent of the ballots. In his second he actually ticked up to 12.6 percent. Last year, however, he was down to 8.8 percent. And this year at least three likely inductees — Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas — join the ballot. Even those voters sympathetic to Mr. Palmeiro are going to run out of room on their ballots eventually, and my guess is that he’ll fall below the 5 percent requirement to stay on following this year’s vote.

Which will be kinda weird for a guy who finished above 500 homers and 3,000 hits while playing a nifty first base before switching to DH. But two forces are conspiring to, quite understandably, shove him off the ballot.

The first one is obvious. Palmeiro was the first famous flunker of a PED test. While that may not one day be the Hall of Fame Death sentence it is today, being a trailblazer in this department is not a good thing, and that would be the case even if he didn’t wag his finger at Congress while proclaiming he was clean just prior to failing the drug test.

But the second reason is just as significant: PEDs aside, Palmeiro doesn’t necessarily profile as a fantastic Hall of Fame candidate compared to his peers.

Yes, he has the big numbers, and I think absent the PED stuff no one would be arguing that they weren’t Hall of Fame worthy. But think about how stacked first base was during his career. Jeff Bagwell and Frank Thomas were clearly better. Mark McGwire was more famous and, in the minds of most, better.¬†Palmeiro made just four All-Star teams and finished in the top 5 in MVP balloting just once. That’s still a heck of a career, but it speaks to a guy who wasn’t thought of as the best or even one of the handful of best players in the league most of his career. Add in his mostly hitter-friendly home ballparks and you could construct an argument that his numbers were more inflated by the era in which he played than a lot of guys.

I’m not saying it’s a strong argument. Looking at Palmeiro’s splits you see that he wasn’t as aided by those hitter-friendly parks in Texas and Baltimore as you might first suspect. And while he didn’t have the top-five finishes he had several top-10s. And while he wouldn’t be in the top half of all of the first basemen ever inducted into the Hall of Fame based on the numbers, he wouldn’t be the worst first basemen ever inducted either.

So, not a slam dunk no for Palmeiro, but it’s enough of an argument where, even if you don’t think that a positive PED test disqualifies someone from Hall of Fame consideration, you can say that in a tough balloting environment he’s one of the guys who don’t make your 10-player cut, 500 homers and 3,000 hits or not. In my Hall of Fame list he doesn’t make the top 10, even if I would have him in the Hall of Fame in an ideal world. And if we play the “this guy should go in before that guy” game Bagwell, Thomas and McGwire all seem like better first base choices than does Palmeiro.

Just a perfect storm blowing in Palmerio’s face, really. And because of it this will likely be the last year that Hall of Fame voters get a chance to consider his likely doomed candidacy.

Latest Posts
  1. Michael Taylor leaves game after crashing into outfield fence

    Aug 27, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 24: Michael Taylor #3 of the Washington Nationals looks on before a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on June 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Nationals won 2-1 in the 11th inning. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) Getty Images

    After losing Yunel Escobar on a hit-by-pitch, Michael Taylor left tonight’s game against the Padres when he crashed into the outfield fence.

  2. Yunel Escobar exits game after being hit in the hand by a pitch

    Aug 27, 2015, 9:27 PM EDT

    WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 03:  Yunel Escobar #5 of the Washington Nationals reacts after striking out to end the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Nationals Park on August 3, 2015 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) Getty Images

    So, that thing about the Nationals’ projected Opening Day lineup finally being in place?

  3. Miguel Sano robbed of home run by catwalk at Tropicana Field

    Aug 27, 2015, 9:01 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, left, and teammate Logan Forsythe look up to see the ring of the dome at Tropicana Field that Minnesota Twins' Miguel Sano, right, hit with his RBI ground-rule double during the third inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson) AP

    Twins rookie slugger Miguel Sano hit another mammoth blast tonight against the Rays. The only problem is that the catwalk at Tropicana Field got in the way.

  4. Adam Jones leaves game after colliding with outfield fence; hopes to be in lineup Friday

    Aug 27, 2015, 8:05 PM EDT

    Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones (10) chases a fly ball hit by Kansas City Royals' Ben Zobrist during the first inning a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Jones was injured on the play but stayed in the game and Zobrist doubled. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) AP

    Jones was forced to exit Thursday’s game after colliding with the center field fence.

  5. Cubs acquire Fernando Rodney from the Mariners

    Aug 27, 2015, 7:13 PM EDT

    Fernando Rodney Getty Images

    After being designated for assignment by the Mariners over the weekend, Rodney will be reunited with Joe Maddon in Chicago.

  6. Video: Madison Bumgarner makes a nifty play at first base

    Aug 27, 2015, 7:05 PM EDT

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 16:  Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants is high-fived by teammates as he walks back into the dugout before their game against the Washington Nationals at AT&T Park on August 16, 2015 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Bumgarner also had a heck of a day on the mound.

  7. Report: Barry Bonds loses collusion case against MLB

    Aug 27, 2015, 6:25 PM EDT

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 10:  Former Major League Baseball player Barry Bonds talks to Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants during batting practice before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at AT&T Park on July 10, 2015 in San Francisco, California.  The San Francisco Giants defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 15-2. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Bonds filed a grievance on the grounds that he was blackballed from the game following the 2007 season.

  8. Video: Enrique Hernandez nearly swings out of his shoes against Aroldis Chapman

    Aug 27, 2015, 6:04 PM EDT

    CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 26: Enrique Hernandez #14 of the Los Angeles Dodgers singles to right to drive in a run in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 26, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Dodgers utility man Enrique Hernandez did his best to catch up to the heat from Reds closer Aroldis Chapman this afternoon.

  9. Jose Fernandez could return to Marlins within two weeks after “wow” bullpen session

    Aug 27, 2015, 5:34 PM EDT

    Jose Fernandez AP

    Fernandez missed much of the season recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery.

  10. Jessica Mendoza to sit in for Curt Schilling on Sunday Night Baseball this week

    Aug 27, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT

    Jessica Mendoza Getty Images

    Its not often we have reason to cheer the decisions ESPN makes but today we do.

  11. Must-click link: the actual twins who own the Twins.com domain

    Aug 27, 2015, 3:13 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 3.11.55 PM

    This is a great slice of weird, totally suitable for killing time on a slow afternoon. Bonus: Bon Jovi is tangentially involved.

  12. Alberto Callaspo released by the Dodgers

    Aug 27, 2015, 2:16 PM EDT

    Alberto Callaspo Dodgers Getty Images

    Los Angeles acquired Callaspo from Atlanta in a late-May trade.

  13. Red Sox looking to trade outfielder Alejandro De Aza

    Aug 27, 2015, 1:34 PM EDT

    Alejandro De Aza AP AP

    Last week’s rumored trade with the Dodgers apparently fell through.

  14. Derek Jeter’s mailbag is . . . kinda boring?

    Aug 27, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Jeter hat tip AP

    “Smithers’ I’m beginning to think that Homer Simpson was not the brilliant tactician I thought he was.”

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. Y. Puig (1851)
  2. D. Span (1847)
  3. G. Springer (1840)
  4. H. Olivera (1819)
  5. C. Sabathia (1792)