Thursday, September 23, 2004

Praise for Palmeiro

In early August I wrote a brief piece in which I said it would be very difficult to justify not voting for Rafael Palmeiro when he becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame. As of today Palmeiro ranks 10th on the all-time home run list with 549, having just passed Mike Schmidt, and has stroked 2913 hits to go along with his .290 lifetime average. People also forget Palmeiro was a Gold Glove fielder in his prime. Nevertheless, there will be plenty of naysayers when he finally hangs it up.

The Orioles seem determined to deny him sufficient at-bats because of a contract clause that will kick in based on number of games played. Palmeiro is signed through the end of the season with the Orioles holding an option for next year. The Orioles of my youth would never have treated someone of Palmeiro’s stature and accomplishments this way.

It will be difficult for him to pick up those 87 hits at his age, playing part-time and primarily as a DH, but here’s hoping he does. 3000 hits would make it even more difficult to deny him his due.

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