Have you ever seen someone fall off the radar so quickly? When was the last time you saw or heard from Rafael Palmeiro???
To say that the last 3 years have been hell for Rafael Palmeiro would be unfair. I don’t know him personally, and I don’t have a clue as to what he is up to today.
What I do know is this – Prior to 2005 I considered Rafael Palmeiro to be one of the best players I have seen from his rookie year until today. I still agree with that statement today; it just doesn’t have as much power behind it as it used to though. It’s not very often that you get to witness the start of a player’s career and then to also be able to watch him develop his skills and become a baseball superstar. But for me, that is exactly what I was able to do with Raffy. I enjoyed watching Palmeiro play since 1987 as a member of the Chicago Cubs and collected several of his rookie cards. To then watch him develop into one of baseball’s best hitters was pure joy.
Today, Palmeiro is part of an incredible group in baseball. He is 1 of only 4 players to have 3,000+ hits and 500+ home runs. That’s right, just 4 players in baseball history can claim this monumental feat. To sit alongside Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, and Hank Aaron puts Raffy in elite status.
Unfortunately in 2005 Palmeiro’s baseball world came crashing down as he joined another group of players in a category nobody wants to be part of – Suspension for use of illegal substances. I was rocked by this. The guy that wagged his finger at Congress just a few months prior was guilty. The one guy that left me convinced of his innocence after his testimony was lying. The player that I watched as much as I could and checked his stats daily was now tarnished beyond repair.
Still, I consider Palmeiro an elite player from the 80’s and 90’s and certainly feel that he has put together a Hall of Fame career. While other players like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa excelled at one major offensive category, Raffy was the complete offensive player. I could see why voters wouldn’t agree to add Big Mac or Sammy to the Hall of Fame, but with Rafael Palmeiro I feel differently. I put him in the same category I put Pete Rose in. His resume says yes, but his mistakes say no.
So what do you say??? Yes or No to Rafael Palmeiro…