Rafael Palmeiro reaches 3,000 hits

Rafael Palmeiro got his 3,000 hit yesterday, two years, two months, and three days after hitting his 500th home run. For the record, he now has 3,001 hits and 566 home runs, making him one of only four member of the exclusive 3,000/500 club, along with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray. Skip Bayless writes an asinine column stating that Palmeiro is not a Hall of Famer. “Palmeiro…piled up all-time great numbers by being very good for a very long time.” I generally respect Bayless, but sorry, not this time.
Hank Aaron played for 23 years, Mays played 22 seasons, Murray played for 21 years. Palmeiro is in his 19th season. He already has 53 more home runs than Murray and if he played another two seasons, he would have more hits. If he played another three, he would surpass Mays in terms of hits, and possibly in terms of home runs as well. The only guy here he can’t reach would be Aaron. So should everyone have to be Hank Aaron to go into the Hall of Fame? If so, you would have to throw almost every member of the Hall out. Hammerin’ Hank is one of the ten greatest players of all-time. That shouldn’t be necessary to qualify for the Hall of Fame.
Bayless brings up that “Palmeiro is nothing more than a very good player who has benefited from being a left-handed hitter in bandbox ballparks, Camden Yards and Ameriquest Field in Arlington, featuring right-field jet streams.” Guess what? Aaron played in an era with a park-adjusted line of .261/.327/.395. Mays: .263/.329/.400. Murray: .262/.328/.399. Palmeiro? .270/.339/.421. Better? Yes. Incomparable? No.
Let’s adjust his numbers for era. He ends up with a .280/.360/.491 (coming into this year). Worse than Aaron and Mays, better than Murray. And we’re comparing him to the creme de la creme.
Palmeiro is 16th in career runs created. 16th! Better than Mantle, Brett, or Wagner. Better than Winfield, Henderson, or Kaline. Better than Murray. Better than 120 hitters of the 134 hitters in the Hall of Fame! And some dare say he doesn’t belong?
Palmeiro is one of our era’s unrecognized greats. He’s never been spectacular or flashy, but he’s been on the best hitters and fielders in baseball for over a decade. There’s something to be said for steady contribution. Palmeiro is a member of an exclusive club: only four hitters have ever gotten 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.
Hopefully, he will soon become a member of a slightly less-exclusive club: the Hall of Fame. He deserves it.


One Response to Rafael Palmeiro reaches 3,000 hits

  1. […] m, except perhaps making it tougher because some of the pitchers he faced were juicing? As I showed a few days ago, even when adjusted for era, Palmeiro’s accomplishments are ext […]

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