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Bush won, so Raffy goes first. Rafael Palmeiro had a typical age 39 season in 2004 for a great first baseman, going .258/.359/.436 and passed the 550 homer plateau. He has recently signed another 1 year contract with the Orioles and figures to collect his 3,000th hit in 2005. As far as I am concerned, he's a lock for the Hall of Fame.

Rafael Palmeiro was a 1st round draft choice of the Cubs in 1985, and was in the majors the following season. He immediately hit for a good hit average, but his power and plate discipline did not arrive until 1991. He was a remarkably consistent great hitter for 12 years, and has remained valuable as he turned 40 in September.

Eddie Murray is an excellent comp for Palmeiro. Palmeiro's superficial numbers seem better due to the higher run-scoring environment. Before we get to the full chart, I'd like to address the question of decentralization of offensive statistics in a high run-scoring environment. Some writers have suggested that many first basemen are putting up terrific career numbers currently, and that it is not appropriate for too many players at one position in one era to qualify.

Why have the first basemen of the 90s put up such great career numbers? It's simple really. The great hitters are found disproportionately at first base. Many are moved from other positions early in their careers (Delgado, Bagwell, Teixeira). Great hitters prosper disproportionately in high run-scoring environments. The other factor seems to be improved conditioning, which has allowed great first basemen to retain more of their value into their late 30s. As we shall see.

This has happened before. In the late 20s and early 30s, there was a similar environment. In the National League in 1928-30, the league OBPs were .355, .368 and .367, and the league slug pcts. were .412, 443, and .460. There were 3 first basemen in the National League who reached their apex during this period, Bill Terry, Jim Bottomley and George Kelly. Each had 6-7 years of first-class performance. All are in the Hall of Fame, and none had careers as valuable as any of the guys we'll be talking about. Terry was easily the best of them, and it seems fair to me to use him as a marker for judging the current crop of first basemen.

So, without further ado, here is Rafael Palmeiro's chart, which we will be re-using for Fred McGriff next:

Player    G     AB     H     HR    W     BA    OBP   SLUG   OPS+
Palmeiro 2721 10103 2922 551 1310 .289 .372 .517 132
Murray 2819 10603 3071 479 1257 .290 .362 .482 133
McGriff 2433 8685 2477 491 1296 .285 .378 .511 134
Terry 1721 6428 2193 154 537 .341 .393 .506 137
Bottomley 1991 7471 2313 219 664 .310 .369 .500 125

The similarity between Murray and Palmeiro is really striking- consistency, durability, and the 3 hitting abilities (average, strike zone judgment and power) in perfect balance. Palmeiro's 3000 hits and 550 homers will be impossible to ignore when he becomes eligible. Plus, he's got the Drysdale "fame" thing working for him, courtesy of the Viagra ads.

Next up: Fred McGriff
Hall Watch 2004-The First Basemen- Rafael Palmeiro | 10 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_Ron - Wednesday, November 03 2004 @ 10:23 PM EST (#19346) #
Easily one of the most under-rated players of all-time.

He's a shoe in for the HoF.

But I do have to take points off because Raffy pimps the Blue Miracles.
_Pete Warren - Wednesday, November 03 2004 @ 10:34 PM EST (#19347) #
Ron, most agreed man. If you think of the last 12 odd years, Raffy's name is rarely brought up when talking about production.

I don't know if any quick informed Bauxites reported this already, but Gabe White's option was declined by Cincy today. Apparently this guy had "Trever Milleritis" (sorry) and had no problems with lefties, but could not get a damn righty out if the batter was Mike Moffatt.
Perhaps Gabe White will become a Blue Jay.
_Pete Warren - Wednesday, November 03 2004 @ 10:39 PM EST (#19348) #
Oh yeah, and does Scott Carson not come around these parts anymore?
He used to pop in every now and then did he not? He's a good man.
_CaramonLS - Wednesday, November 03 2004 @ 10:46 PM EST (#19349) #
COMN for NL gold glove winners, no new thread started so I though I would just toss it up in here.

Izturas wins it for SS.
_Pete Warren - Wednesday, November 03 2004 @ 10:53 PM EST (#19350) #
Cesar Izturuis.....tsk tsk..
_Jobu - Wednesday, November 03 2004 @ 11:34 PM EST (#19351) #
Cesar Izturuis, clearly and example of not winning a glove for your bat. Now if only the AL could grasp that....
Craig B - Thursday, November 04 2004 @ 12:11 AM EST (#19352) #
Cesar Izturis.
_Mick - Thursday, November 04 2004 @ 01:47 PM EST (#19353) #
I'm looking forward to your McGriff entry. Apparently, the only real differences between him and Raffy are the minor lead Palmeiro has in counting stats and Palmeiro's tainted "gold glove DH" status. And yet Palmeiro is a lock -- and I think he is -- for Cooperstown while many people see McGriff as the poster boy for the HOF not letting someone in because they reached a previously holy milestone.

And why doesn't McGriff get the extra credit many players do for consistently being associated with (and performing well for) a winner?

Post-season batting
50G 188AB .303/10/37 OPS .917 1.48 K/BB
(6-4 in 10 series, 1 WS title)
22G 82AB .244/4/8 OPS .759 3.83 K/BB
(2-3 in 5 series, 0 WS title)
_Jobu - Thursday, November 04 2004 @ 04:10 PM EST (#19355) #
Cesar Izturis.

Reminds me of Will Ferrell as Robert Goulet on SNL "Coolioolioolio"
Mike Green - Friday, August 05 2005 @ 02:49 PM EDT (#124800) #
Well, I guess that I'll have to write a supplement to this one in the off-season. It is a serious question. If Palmeiro's steroid use began in 1993, you might want to look at his 1992 comparables for assistance in trying to figure out how his career might have gone without steroids. At that point, Palmeiro was pretty clearly in the Steve Garvey, Keith Hernandez and John Olerud mould. Excellent players certainly, but not quite Hall of Famers. That is not the only possible reference point.
Hall Watch 2004-The First Basemen- Rafael Palmeiro | 10 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.