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I know, I know, I'm probably about to jinx him into an 0-for-100 slide, but as I write this, Rafael Palmeiro is sitting on 2,999 career hits.

As we noted here last March, baseball historians, writers, fans -- and to a large extent, players -- are quite obsessed with Chasing the Big Number, and where hitting is concerned, there is none bigger than the one Palmeiro is about to chase down.

And as you no doubt have heard, he is also about to become only the fourth player, after a pretty decent bunch of guys named Aaron, Mays and Murray, to have hit 500 homers, reaching that OTHER hitter's Big Number, while having 3,000 hits. (He's actually just 30-some homers shy of joining Aaron and Mays as the only 3,000/600 guys. Nice.)

Frankly, the statistical oddity of that confluence is just that -- an oddity. So Stan Musial "only" hit 475 homers among his 3,630 hits? Big deal. Musial's in the Hall of Fame. Palmeiro will join him in six or seven years.

Mike Green, from whom this thread's "Hall Watch" logo was hijacked, wrote of Raffy a while back, "Palmeiro's 3000 hits and 550 homers will be impossible to ignore when he becomes eligible [for the Hall]."

Bang on. First ballot guy. No question. Here in the DFW Metroplex, where Raffy has done a couple of notable tours of duty, a sports radio jock recently said "Palmeiro is one of those guys who isn't really going to be appreciated for his greatness until he's gone." (Presumably he meant "retired.")

Let's not wait. Bauxites, you are hereby invited to share your memories of one of the 10 greatest hitters of this era ... Rafael Palmeiro.

The Next Mr. 3000 | 10 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Jdog - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 06:20 PM EDT (#122875) #
Answer me this ...What is Palmeiro's best placing in the MVP vote and when was it?
Rob - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 06:57 PM EDT (#122876) #
Raffy once got 4 first-place votes (in 1999) with 193 of a possible 392 voting points. Looks like he was in fifth place. It was also the first time he ever got first-place votes.
Kopite - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 10:05 PM EDT (#122881) #
Let's see if the Viagra can put a pop in his bat and help him get to the 3000 mark tonight :p
Magpie - Friday, July 15 2005 @ 11:56 PM EDT (#122890) #
He did it with style - an RBI double off Joel Piniero. Well done, Rafael.
Craig B - Saturday, July 16 2005 @ 12:40 AM EDT (#122901) #
Palmeiro - I think I've taken him for granted over his career too. He always played the game right, and he was a class act. The way in which he's been a very valuable player but underappreciated reminds me of Carlos Delgado and most of all, Eddie Murray.
James W - Saturday, July 16 2005 @ 04:45 AM EDT (#122905) #
There was a nice little article on ESPN's Page 2 about Palmeiro would be a nice candidate for the Hall of Very Good, but he's certainly not a Hall of Famer. Not sure if I agree, since 3000-500 is quite the exclusive club... but really, can you name a Hall of Famer that you wouldn't trade straight up for Rafael Palmeiro?
Magpie - Saturday, July 16 2005 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#122927) #
The ESPN Page 2 piece, Sorry, Raffy isn't Hall-Worthy is by Skip Bayless. I regret to say that's it's an exceptionally stupid and shallow piece of work. Bayless essentially wants to change the standards for Hall of Fame exclusion, and kick out all but a couple dozen players currently enshrined. The bar for the Hall of Fame has never been set that high, and the list of players that Bayless provides includes a number of guys who... well, they're certainly famous. But was Rod Carew really a more powerful offensive force than Rafael Palmeiro? Just because he hit a lot of singles?

Bayless makes the very valid point that Palmeiro's career counting numbers benefitted enormously from his good taste in home ball parks. This is true - it is the only reason Palmeriro looks, at first glance, like a greater hitter than Fred McGriff. He was no such thing.

But otherwise, Bayless' argument is too silly to even bother with. That horse has left the stable. Fred Lindstrom and Travis Jackson are already in the Hall of Fame, although it's extremely doubtful that Bayless knows who they are.

Mike Green - Saturday, July 16 2005 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#122948) #
Funny you should mention Eddie Murray, Craig, because he is Palmeiro's closest comp statistically as well as in so many other ways. The major difference between the two is that Murray never put up great numbers in a season due to his home parks, whereas Palmeiro's peak was overshadowed by that of fellow first basemen Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell. In that respect, he shares something with Hank Greenberg, whose peak was high but not quite up to Gehrig and Foxx.
costanza - Monday, July 18 2005 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#123065) #
My memory's a bit vague on this, and I don't have access to my old Abstracts, but I seem to recall Bill James bemoaning the state of the Cubs farm system, right about the time it produced Palmeiro and Maddux. (I believe James mentioned at least one of them as an example of a decent, but unspectacular, product).

Without looking it up, I'd think that Raffy's early career looks less like a 400-HR man than anyone who cracked that barrier. Less than 50 HRs in his first 2000 ABs? Look at these age 26 comps . Puckett's appearance at the bottom is interesting, but the top 5 comps combined for one 25-HR season -- Darin Erstad hit exactly 25 HRs once, and it took 676 ABs to do it.

Ballpark and era effects certainly helped him, but Palmeiro's late-developing power certainly seemed extraordinary...

SimonB - Tuesday, July 19 2005 @ 01:27 AM EDT (#123159) #

Or Viagra?
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