Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Plight Of Rafael Palmeiro

RJ Matson/Roll Call
First of all, let me just say CONGRATS to Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven on their just-announced inductions into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Alomar received 90% of the vote and Blyleven FINALLY got in with 79.7% of the vote. As we all know, it takes 75% or better to get in.

Both Alomar and Blyleven were shoo-ins since they both received 73.7% and 74.2%, respectively, last year and no player has ever come that close and not gotten in. So their induction was not a surprise to anyone who follows the voting on a yearly basis.

As for the black-listed Rafael Palmeiro--

This was Palmeiro's first year of eligibility and to no one's surprise, he DID NOT get in. Palmeiro received a paltry 11.0% of the vote and some are even surprised he got that much. On paper, Palmeiro should be a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer with his 569 HR, 3020 Hits, 1835 RBI, but we all know what his beef is--

In three words-- STEROIDS, STEROIDS, STEROIDS!

Mike Lester/Rome News Tribune
Palmeiro is the second member of the steroids-era group of stars (which I like to call the Usual Suspects) which has become eligible for induction and has been snubbed by the BBWAA voters. The ring-leader, Mark McGwire, was denied induction for a 5th consecutive year. McGwire received only 19.8% of the vote, which is less than his prior showings of 23.5, 23.6, 21.9 and 23.7 from 2007-2010. In other words, the voters are sending a tough message-- if you cheated, you ain't gettin' in!

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Of course, Palmeiro has vehemently denied ever using steroids and blames his failed test in 2005 on some steroid-laced vitamins given to him by teammate Miguel Tejada. He claims he innocently took the vitamins putting his trust on Tejada.

Nice try, Rafy. But hey, apparently, 11% of the voters believe you.

Anyway, the next 3 members of the Usual Suspects fraternity (Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens) all become Hall of Fame eligible in 2013 and I'm sure they'll meet the same fates Palmeiro and McGwire have, that's for sure.

So here are my predictions for the next 5 classes--

My Class of 2012:

1. Barry Larkin - This will be Larkin's third year on the ballot. He got 51.6% in 2010 and a big bump to 62.1% this year. 2012 is an off year and Larkin had great numbers for a shortstop, so why not?

My Class of 2013:

1. Craig Biggio - 1st Ballot
2. Mike Piazza - 1st Ballot

My Class of 2014:

1. Greg Maddux - 1st Ballot
2. Tom Glavine - 1st Ballot
3. Frank "The Big Hurt" Thomas - 1st Ballot
4. Jack Morris - 2014 will be Morris the Cat's final year of eligibility and the voters will vote him in by a whisker.

My Class of 2015:

1. Randy Johnson - 1st Ballot
2. John Smoltz - 1st Ballot

*Pedro Martinez gets 72% of the vote in his first ballot and is livid.

My Class of 2016:

1. Ken Griffey, Jr. - 1st Ballot
2. Pedro Martinez - 2nd Ballot
3. Jeff Kent - 3rd Ballot

*Gary Sheffield gets only 69% of the vote in his first year of eligibility. When he hears the news he smashes his cell phone in anger and calls the voters a bunch of baseball illiterates.

In 2017, Chipper Jones should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer if this coming season is his last. Gary Sheffield gets in on his second ballot. Mike Mussina (4th ballot), Edgar Martinez (8th ballot) and Tim "Purple" Raines (10th ballot) look decent for 2017 also.

Finally--

John Cole
As for McGwire, Palmeiro, Sosa, Bonds and Clemens, who knows? Maybe towards the end of their eligibility the culture has changed and future voters won't be as harsh to suspected steroids era players. They'll just have to wait and see. All I know is, they ain't gettin' in any time soon. No doubt!

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