The results of this year’s vote by the nation’s ink-stained baseball writers to determine the next inductees to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., were announced just a few minutes ago. It’s a great day for fans of the Atlanta Braves, as pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine both won the honor, as did Chicago White Sox great Frank Thomas.
But it’s a not so great day for former longtime Texas Rangers player Rafael Palmeiro. In his fourth year of eligibility, he garnered support from only 4.4% of the voters (you need 75% to be elected). That means he’ll be dropped from the ballot entirely, since the rules state that a player must get at least 5% to be carried over to the next year for consideration.
Despite playing long enough to compile some Hall-like stats (500 home runs and 3,000 hits), Palmeiro has only ever had a borderline case for his induction. He benefited greatly from Rangers Ballpark and from the offensively-driven era in which he player (500 home runs isn’t the benchmark it once was.) Plus, after wagging his finger at and lying to Congress, he was caught using performance-enhancing substances.
And so he guaranteed that he’d never have much of a shot, not when the writers won’t give Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, two of the no-doubt all-time greatest players in the game, more than 40% of the vote because of their ties to steroids.
It’s not really Palmeiro that any of us should feel bad for today. It’s another longtime Texas ballplayer, Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros. Biggio, on his second try, got 74.8% of the vote. Two-tenths of a percent short. That’s two votes short. He’ll have a whole year of nightmares about how he missed election by that much.