Rafael Palmeiro joined some select company this weekend as he became the fourth player in Major League baseball history to reach the ultra exclusive 3,000 hit-500 home run club. Palmeiro joined Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray in this elite club--a club that typically means automatic admission into Cooperstown.
But is Palmeiro deserving of such an honor?
Raiders fans will tell you--and they did at great length last week--that numbers alone are enough to get you into the Hall of Fame. Being the best of your generation and dominating the game are not elements of fame. The only thing that matters is to flip open the stat book and make your picks. It is a pretty simplistic view of the world.
But Raiders fans are simple people.
The knock against Palmeiro is the same argument that goes against Tim Brown. Both players were gentlemen,performed with class, and had long careers that enabled them to put up great cumulative numbers without ever dominating the league.
The case against Palmeiro is pretty staggering. The career .289 hitter has never led the league in home runs or batting average, or named the league's most valuable player. The most telling statistic is that Palmeiro was selected to the Silver Slugger team (best offensive player at his position) only twice in his nearly two-decade long career.
This is a guy you want to put into the Hall of Fame? And do we even need to bring up the point about Palmeiro using performance-enhancing drugs that could have positively influenced his career?
Palmeiro has enjoyed a nice career, but not one that deserves recognition in the Hall of Fame. Fans need to ask themselves when they talk about this generation of baseball in the future, will Palmeiro's name be mentioned? It is hard to imagine two old coots sitting in a bar in the year 2025 discussing the greatness of Palmeiro. It is just not going to happen.
Only if, of course, they are asking who was the Tim Brown of Major League Baseball.
RAIDER FAN OF THE WEEK
A T-ball coach in Pittsburgh paid one of his 8-year-old players to pull a Jeff Gillooley on a challenged player, state police said on Friday.
That gives new meaning to the phrase, "Just Win, Baby."
The 8-year old that took the bribe rolled over on his coach, Mark Reed Down Jr., rather quickly showing that the enterprising tyke is a future Raider and prison snitch in training.
Don't look for Down Jr. to get out of baseball just yet. Odds are he'll be doing a lot of "catching" in prison.