Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Rafael Palmeiro, 1994 Studio #126
Then there's the confounding case of Rafael Palmeiro. After scratching and clawing to stay on the ballot in each of his first three years of eligibility, the man who ranks 25th all-time in career hits and 12th in home runs received only 25 votes among the 571 ballots cast. That gave him 4.4% of the vote, dropping him below the 5% minimum required to stick around. It would have seemed inconceivable a decade ago, but Raffy is off the map. He's being swept aside with a group of one-year-and-done retirees that includes Moises Alou, Hideo Nomo, Luis Gonzalez, Eric Gagne, J. T. Snow, Armando Benitez (and woe be unto the one solitary lunatic who cast a vote for him), Jacque Jones, Kenny Rogers, Sean Casey, Ray Durham, Todd Jones, Paul LoDuca, Richie Sexson, and Mike Timlin. As the years pass and the Hall of Fame debate becomes even more of a scattershot fiasco, I tell myself in an increasingly-loud voice that the whole thing is unworthy of my annoyance and frustration. But the whole messy process is just too much to ignore for a baseball fan. May time heal all wounds...and wound all heels.