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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Rafael Palmeiro Making a Comeback in Pro Baseball in Cleburne

A familiar face is making a comeback in professional baseball in North Texas, with a few grey hairs to show for his time off. Rafael Palmeiro signed on Wednesday with the independent Cleburne Railroaders, who play in the American Association.

Now 53, Palmeiro played 20 years for the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles, and he won’t be making the trip to Cleburne alone.
[...]
“Wherever you go, I’m gonna go with you because we’re gonna do this together,” said Palmeiro’s older son Patrick.

He signed with the Cleburne Railroaders on Wednesday too. They’ll hit the field together for opening day next week.

Publicity stunt or not, there’s always something nice about a father having a catch with his son.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 10, 2018 at 03:29 PM | 59 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: comebacks, fatherhood, general, independent leagues, rafael palmeiro

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   1. eric Posted: May 10, 2018 at 07:53 PM (#5670317)
To me, Palmeiro is perhaps the most tragic figure of the steroids witch hunt. Now, he did point his finger at congress with his denial. But many players have lied (and many others will) about steroids over the decades, some of whom are currently in the HOF.

We have multiple tiers of players with steroids stigma--

1) Those who used/were accused but had irrelevant careers (eg, Manny Alexander)
2) Those who used/were accused who had very productive to great, but non-HOF careers (eg, Miguel Tejada)
3) Those who used/were accused who had clear HOF careers, but not inner circle (eg, Manny Ramirez)
4) Those who used/were accused who had clear GOAT-type careers (eg, Bonds, Clemens)

All in groups 1 and 2 are mostly forgotten. Group 3 people remember, but ding them. But they're still around and are points of discussion--Manny Ramirez is still polling on the ballots. McGwire is in that group and he went the full ten years, and is still seemingly a hot topic. Group 4 will likely get enshrined by the time their eligibility is up, and they're definitely still very much in the public's consciousness.

But you can perhaps add two subgroups to this. Call them 3b and 3c. 3b would be the ones who used/were accused and had clear HOF careers but likely will be forgiven (eg, David Ortiz).

Then 3c would be where Rafael Palmeiro resides. Used/accused, clear HOF career, but he's not lingering like Ramirez and he's not forgiven like Ortiz. He's been banished, and forgotten about except as a punchline. The others are still in the hunt, but he's been buried, a victim of circumstance from a world where everyone was complicit and many (probably most) were just as guilty as he--his case perhaps destined to only be dusted off by some new incarnation of the veteran's committee decades from now.

He really feels like the guy who lost the most from the fallout.

(And I just had to go look to remind myself that he made $89MM in his career, before I actually start feeling sorry for him.)
   2. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: May 11, 2018 at 08:43 AM (#5670567)
For me, the tiers that matter are

1) Those who were never suspended for failing a test.

2) Those who were suspended for failing a test.

I liken Bonds's and Clemens's use, along with that of players like McGwire and Sosa, to throwing the spitball before 1920. It was an open sport, and use was certainly within its culture. Palmeiro, Manny, and A-Rod are different in kind, as with the introduction of a testing policy and suspensions for failed tests, baseball moved from an open sport to a tested sport. Use moved from part of the culture to cheating to gain an edge. Palmeiro was the first big name to be suspended for failing a test; I'm personally pretty okay with a line that has him, A-Rod, and Manny out, but Clemens, McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Sheffield, etc. in.
   3. Rally Posted: May 11, 2018 at 08:57 AM (#5670570)
(And I just had to go look to remind myself that he made $89MM in his career, before I actually start feeling sorry for him.)


That is both a ton of money and, thanks to inflation, surprising little for a player of his caliber. Put Palmeiro in his prime into today's game and he makes that much in a 3 year stretch. That's about half of what Adrian Gonzalez will likely end up with, an inferior but similar player who does not seem likely to have another big payday left in his career. But it's more than double what Eddie Murray made in his career, and Eddie is only 8 years older than Raffy.
   4. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: May 11, 2018 at 09:17 AM (#5670575)
Group 3 and its subgroups get most discussed because HOF balloting provides a forum to talk about them for over a decade after they've retired. The same is true for Group 4, but then most writers/fans recognize that those guys are HOFers even without the steroids. That's much less clear with Group 3.

Personally, I align much more with Mirabelli in [2].
   5. Ithaca2323 Posted: May 11, 2018 at 10:20 AM (#5670623)
Group 4 will likely get enshrined by the time their eligibility is up, and they're definitely still very much in the public's consciousness.


I don't see it. They do very well with 1st time voters, but they are—almost literally—dead in the water with the rest of the voters. Bonds was a +1 with them last year, and Clemens a +3. The new voters simply aren't going to be in great enough numbers. I think that you're always going to have 25.1% of the voters who are just hard line nos on thi stuff
   6. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 11, 2018 at 11:17 AM (#5670701)
But you can perhaps add two subgroups to this. Call them 3b and 3c. 3b would be the ones who used/were accused and had clear HOF careers but likely will be forgiven (eg, David Ortiz).

Then 3c would be where Rafael Palmeiro resides. Used/accused, clear HOF career, but he's not lingering like Ramirez and he's not forgiven like Ortiz.


It does seem to be almost random where the accused fall in terms of public opprobrium. In terms of using PEDs, Jason Giambi would appear to be in exactly the same cohort as Palmeiro, but nobody appears to hate Jason Giambi. He spent the last few years of his career as a beloved, avuncular figure.

Maybe the difference is that Palmeiro would be a clear Hall of Famer without the steroids taint, and thus people feel the need to pass judgment on him one way or the other. But it's still pretty weird.
   7. Greg Pope Posted: May 11, 2018 at 11:20 AM (#5670705)
Palmeiro, Manny, and A-Rod are different in kind, as with the introduction of a testing policy and suspensions for failed tests, baseball moved from an open sport to a tested sport. Use moved from part of the culture to cheating to gain an edge. Palmeiro was the first big name to be suspended for failing a test; I'm personally pretty okay with a line that has him, A-Rod, and Manny out, but Clemens, McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Sheffield, etc. in.

OK, but this could also be used to argue the opposite. MLB and MLBPA got together and decided on an appropriate punishment for PED's. Anyone who gets caught during this era pays their debt and moves on. So why is there further punishment* regarding HOF voting? When Bonds and McGwire were doing it, there was no penalty. But many** people still considered it wrong. The only punishment available is denying them the HOF.

I guess I don't see why getting caught during testing is somehow worse. They got penalized. They lost time, salary (?), and stats. MLB and MLBPA agreed that was enough.

*Whether being kept out of the HOF is actually a punishment or just a lack of an honor is not the point.
**Yes "many" is a weasel word, but again, not the point.
   8. Sweatpants Posted: May 11, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5670709)
It does seem to be almost random where the accused fall in terms of public opprobrium. In terms of using PEDs, Jason Giambi would appear to be in exactly the same cohort as Palmeiro, but nobody appears to hate Jason Giambi. He spent the last few years of his career as a beloved, avuncular figure.

Maybe the difference is that Palmeiro would be a clear Hall of Famer without the steroids taint, and thus people feel the need to pass judgment on him one way or the other. But it's still pretty weird.
There's also the fact that Palmeiro tried to blame a teammate for his failed steroid test.
   9. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 11, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5670719)

I liken Bonds's and Clemens's use, along with that of players like McGwire and Sosa, to throwing the spitball before 1920. It was an open sport, and use was certainly within its culture. Palmeiro, Manny, and A-Rod are different in kind, as with the introduction of a testing policy and suspensions for failed tests, baseball moved from an open sport to a tested sport. Use moved from part of the culture to cheating to gain an edge. Palmeiro was the first big name to be suspended for failing a test; I'm personally pretty okay with a line that has him, A-Rod, and Manny out, but Clemens, McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Sheffield, etc. in.
Yes, but throwing a spitball or using a corked bat is also cheating to gain an edge, but nobody thinks those are HOF disqualifiers.
   10. bunyon Posted: May 11, 2018 at 11:32 AM (#5670720)
Raffy is clearly dinged more because he actually advertised PEDs. He was quite open about their utility and efficacy and was paid good money to make those claims.
   11. Captain Supporter Posted: May 11, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5670748)
To me, Palmeiro is perhaps the most tragic figure of the steroids witch hunt.


I've seen the face of tragedy, and this ain't it.
   12. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 11, 2018 at 12:52 PM (#5670821)
It does seem to be almost random where the accused fall in terms of public opprobrium. In terms of using PEDs, Jason Giambi would appear to be in exactly the same cohort as Palmeiro, but nobody appears to hate Jason Giambi. He spent the last few years of his career as a beloved, avuncular figure.

I think that Giambi is actually a good guy and a good teammate regardless of PED use. I don't know what Palmeiro's reputation is in that sense. But I also don't see Palmeiro as being vilified -- he's just not getting elected to the HOF.

And Palmeiro started out at 11% of the voting, which doesn't seem that low in a world where Barry Bonds started out at 36% (it's almost certainly more than Giambi will get). People seem to forget that he was viewed as more of a compiler who benefited from his home park during much of his career, and it wasn't really until milestones like 500 HR and 3,000 hits looked likely that people began to view him as a no-doubt HOFer (and some people still questioned whether he belonged even then). He was certainly hurt by playing in an era of great 1B, but he only made 2 AS teams and only finished in the top-5 in the MVP voting once.
   13. Booey Posted: May 11, 2018 at 01:08 PM (#5670839)
He was certainly hurt by playing in an era of great 1B, but he only made 2 AS teams


4 AS teams, the same number as Jeff Bagwell and only one 1 behind Frank Thomas and Jim Thome.

That was indeed a very stacked position at the time.

   14. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: May 11, 2018 at 01:10 PM (#5670841)
I guess I don't see why getting caught during testing is somehow worse.


Because without testing, there's just a subjective feeling, not shared by the power structure or culture of the game, that use isn't above board. Once there's a testing policy in place, use goes from tacitly, if not openly, encouraged to actually banned.
   15. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 11, 2018 at 01:19 PM (#5670852)

4 AS teams, the same number as Jeff Bagwell and only one 1 behind Frank Thomas and Jim Thome.

You're right, somehow I read that wrong on BB-Ref.
   16. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 11, 2018 at 01:31 PM (#5670861)

I liken Bonds's and Clemens's use, along with that of players like McGwire and Sosa, to throwing the spitball before 1920. It was an open sport, and use was certainly within its culture.


It's kind of weird to call it an 'open sport' when none of them have admitted to using. By contrast, we know about the use of the spitball because the pitchers who used it freely talked about it.
   17. Booey Posted: May 11, 2018 at 01:55 PM (#5670885)
It's kind of weird to call it an 'open sport' when none of them have admitted to using.


Open within the clubhouse. Of course they weren't open to the public about it because they knew it was illegal. Same way it was with greenies. Same way it often is with recreational drug users (open with their peers but obviously not willing to tell the police or their employers all about it).
   18. Rally Posted: May 11, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5670887)
There's also the fact that Palmeiro tried to blame a teammate for his failed steroid test.


Doesn't mean Raffy was innocent, but the teammate (Tejada) eventually was caught and suspended too.
   19. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: May 11, 2018 at 02:06 PM (#5670891)
It's kind of weird to call it an 'open sport' when none of them have admitted to using. By contrast, we know about the use of the spitball because the pitchers who used it freely talked about it.


"Open" = untested. Terminology stolen from bodybuilding and powerlifting, which have "open" and "tested" divisions and competitions. Even in the open divisions, competitors will tell you about their training programs and their diets, but not their cycles. Would have thought the implication was perfectly clear.
   20. Greg Pope Posted: May 11, 2018 at 02:24 PM (#5670903)
Because without testing, there's just a subjective feeling, not shared by the power structure or culture of the game, that use isn't above board. Once there's a testing policy in place, use goes from tacitly, if not openly, encouraged to actually banned.

Right, and if caught, there's an agreed upon punishment. Why should there be more punishment than what the rules state?
   21. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 11, 2018 at 03:32 PM (#5670965)
Palmeiro also went through the whole "I can't wait until I can tell my side of the story...but I can't" act when he was perfectly capable of telling his side of the story. People tend to roll their eyes at that. Here in Chicago we call it a "Blagojevich."
   22. Booey Posted: May 11, 2018 at 03:40 PM (#5670973)
Palmeiro also went through the whole "I can't wait until I can tell my side of the story...but I can't" act when he was perfectly capable of telling his side of the story.


Give him time. I mean, it's only been 13 years...
   23. eric Posted: May 11, 2018 at 04:39 PM (#5671008)
I've seen the face of tragedy, and this ain't it.


As tragic as it gets for multi-millionaire athletes being denied entrance into and recognition by an elite club. It isn't children starving to death, for sure.
   24. SoSH U at work Posted: May 11, 2018 at 05:24 PM (#5671033)
6.

One key area of difference between Ortiz and Giambi and Raffy and McGwire is the former had a lot of time after to rewrite their narratives on the field after they became part of the roid story. With Mac and Palmeiro and the early guys, they exited the game as users, and that kind of stuck on them. Arod also had a chance at the former before Biogenesis.
   25. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: May 13, 2018 at 08:59 AM (#5671470)
The new Gordie and Mark (or Marty) Howe!
   26. Adam Starblind Posted: May 13, 2018 at 11:09 AM (#5671499)
Right, and if caught, there's an agreed upon punishment. Why should there be more punishment than what the rules state?


Because voters get to decide how they vote. They're not on the ineligible list like Rose or SJJ.
   27. Ziggy's screen name Posted: May 13, 2018 at 09:19 PM (#5671665)
We sometimes talk about players who aren't really that great, and would they be HOF-worthy if they somehow got to 3000 hits. And that's who Palmeiro is. He's Johnny Damon who's actually good enough to get to 3000 hits. (Forget about the fact that he's a 1B instead of CF for a minute.) And it turns out that, yes, a player who isn't really all that great, but who is good enough to get to 3000 hits, is HOF material (modulo steroid blacklisting).
   28. Booey Posted: May 13, 2018 at 10:18 PM (#5671674)
We sometimes talk about players who aren't really that great, and would they be HOF-worthy if they somehow got to 3000 hits. And that's who Palmeiro is. He's Johnny Damon who's actually good enough to get to 3000 hits.


Eh, not really.

Palmeiro - 72 WAR, 30 WAA
Damon - 56 WAR, 19 WAA

If Damon were able to hang on as a league average player for 2 more years, he'd have surpassed 3000 easily and finished with around 60 WAR (and still 19 WAA), still well short of Palmeiro. Raffy was much closer to being great than Damon was.

MVP voting isn't perfect, of course, but WRT Palmeiro and Damon I think it actually reflects their careers pretty accurately. Raffy was rarely a top tier superstar (only 3 top 10 MVP finishes), but he was often in the next group down (10 top 20 MVP finishes). Damon was another tier below that; not only was he never a true superstar for even a single season (no top 10 MVP finishes), but he was rarely even in the group right below the stars (just 3 top 20 MVP finishes).

Damon was a good player who lasted long enough to amass a very good career. Palmeiro was a very good player who lasted long enough to amass a great (HOF caliber) career.
   29. Howie Menckel Posted: May 13, 2018 at 10:29 PM (#5671676)
Palmeiro's defense was so otherwordly that he won a Gold Glove in 1999 at 1B while starting just 28 games there!
   30. Brian C Posted: May 14, 2018 at 12:41 AM (#5671682)
Because voters get to decide how they vote. They're not on the ineligible list like Rose or SJJ.

Yes, but it's hard to come up with an argument for keeping guys who served their time out of the Hall that doesn't boil down basically to simple spite.
   31. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 14, 2018 at 07:39 AM (#5671700)

Right, and if caught, there's an agreed upon punishment. Why should there be more punishment than what the rules state?

It's not a punishment, it's a recognition that if Palmeiro hadn't been cheating he might not have put up HOF numbers. The voters are trying to compare players across teams, leagues and eras. And if Palmeiro had competed at a time when PEDs weren't available he probably would have been a borderline guy at best. He's not Bonds or Clemens, who most people acknowledge were HOF quality players before/without PEDs. (The argument for keeping those guys out is more difficult for me.)
   32. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: May 14, 2018 at 10:21 AM (#5671739)
He's not Bonds or Clemens, who most people acknowledge were HOF quality players before/without PEDs.
This is what's so amazing about Bonds. The narrative seems to be that he got annoyed about McGwire/Sosa and his own injury/aging issues, and started using after the 1999 season. That's not provable, but we'll go with it for the sake of argument. If we pretend that instead of heading to BALCO he decided to retire to walk the earth, we're looking at a guy who's 13th all-time in WAA among position players, right behind Eddie Collins and Lou Gehrig, just ahead of ARod and Mike Schmidt. By WAR he'd have been around 16th, in a rough tie with Ott, Lajoie, and Frank Robinson. All pretending that the last eight seasons of his career didn't happen. That's insane.
   33. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 14, 2018 at 10:56 AM (#5671766)
It's kind of weird to call it an 'open sport' when none of them have admitted to using.

Open within the clubhouse.

Color me skeptical on that one. I realize there's a Clubhouse Code and all that, but I have a hard time believing that with all the hundreds/thousands of now-retired players who were active during the so-called Steroids Era, not a single one of them has come out and said this with anyone to back up his assertions.

On top of that, there also hasn't been a single writer who's said that he knew of such commonplace use at the time and didn't write about it. Contrast that to the descriptions of open jars of greenies lying around clubhouses in the 70's, some written contemporaneously (Bouton) and others written in retrospect.

I feel for Palmeiro, who was one of my favorite players and would get my vote for the HoM, but he took his chances and got caught. As far as the HoF goes, I feel much worse for the likes of Edgar Martinez and Curt Schilling.
   34. Booey Posted: May 14, 2018 at 11:07 AM (#5671774)
Color me skeptical on that one. I realize there's a Clubhouse Code and all that, but I have a hard time believing that with all the hundreds/thousands of now-retired players who were active during the so-called Steroids Era, not a single one of them has come out and said this with anyone to back up his assertions.


Did you read Canseco's book? He talks about players injecting each other in bathroom stalls, recommending dealers, sharing juicing secrets and offering advice, etc, etc. Sounds pretty open to me.
   35. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 14, 2018 at 07:09 PM (#5672264)
This is what's so amazing about Bonds. The narrative seems to be that he got annoyed about McGwire/Sosa and his own injury/aging issues, and started using after the 1999 season. That's not provable, but we'll go with it for the sake of argument.


Bonds lied about using when he was clearly juiced to the gills. I have no reason to believe we ever saw him play clean.
   36. SoSH U at work Posted: May 14, 2018 at 09:15 PM (#5672324)
And that's who Palmeiro is. He's Johnny Damon who's actually good enough to get to 3000 hits. (Forget about the fact that he's a 1B instead of CF for a minute.) And it turns out that, yes, a player who isn't really all that great, but who is good enough to get to 3000 hits, is HOF material (modulo steroid blacklisting).


I think Raffy is actually a pretty good example of my argument. Despite reaching two of the supposed automatic numbers, he never exceeded 12.6 percent of the vote, while the best of the steroid guys have now eclipsed 56 percent, and many of the others also bested him in head-to-head balloting.

OK, he failed a test and some of those guys didn't. But McGwire admitted to use, and never finished as low as Palmeiro in voting. And Manny failed two tests, and nearly doubled Palmeiro's support during his first year on the ballot. And that's because those guys were seen as true stars, which Palmeiro never was.

Obviously, the steroids mess complicates things considerably, and one player's vote total isn't absolute proof of anything. But it does support the idea that Palmeiro was seen as more of a compiler than a great player, and he was probably looking at a Sutton-like climb in a world without steroids.

Now, I do think he eventually would have made it, primarily because as Booey points out, he legitimately deserved it. But even with 3K hits and 500 homers, it's hard to argue that he would have sailed it given his tepid support even among those voters who were OK with the juice.
   37. PreservedFish Posted: May 14, 2018 at 09:28 PM (#5672336)
Obviously, the steroids mess complicates things considerably, and one player's vote total isn't absolute proof of anything. But it does support the idea that Palmeiro was seen as more of a compiler than a great player, and he was probably looking at a Sutton-like climb in a world without steroids.


No doubt in my mind that Palmeiro was seen as a HOF quality player only begrudgingly, and that the writers were relieved to have an excuse not to vote for him.
   38. Booey Posted: May 14, 2018 at 09:49 PM (#5672351)
he was probably looking at a Sutton-like climb in a world without steroids.


Think so? I think he'd have gone first or 2nd ballot at the latest. He debuted in 2011 before ballotgeddon, and 2012 had no HOF caliber newcomers (the best was Bernie Williams).

Wasn't Dave Winfield similar to Palmeiro? He went first ballot. He DID do much better than Raffy with All Star and MVP voting, but I still got the impression that he wasn't viewed as a surefire HOFer until the career numbers became too high to ignore. It's not necessarily the milestones themselves, but the overall line (like with Raffy, in addition to the hits and HR, you've also got the RBI's, the doubles, the total bases, the extra base hits, etc. There's just too much THERE, there).
   39. SoSH U at work Posted: May 14, 2018 at 10:11 PM (#5672376)
Think so? I think he'd have gone first or 2nd ballot at the latest. He debuted in 2011 before ballotgeddon, and 2012 had no HOF caliber newcomers (the best was Bernie Williams).


Well I know he only got 11 percent while fellow roider Mark McGwire received almost 20 on the exact same light ballot. And two years later he received 8.8 percent when a couple of roiders everyone hated got four times as much support. And then Manny, who failed twice as many tests, got twice as much support on a much more crowded ballot than Palmeiro his first time out.

It's possible they held the finger wag against him more strongly than McGwire's desire not to talk about the past, Barry's expanding head size or Roger's general Rogerness. And, given the limited mathematical abilities of the average writer, perhaps Manny's second test nullified the first. But Palmeiro's really crappy vote totals compared with his fellow juicers just doesn't scream excitement over his candidacy, does it?

Wasn't Dave Winfield viewed similarly to Palmeiro?


Maybe by us. But by the writers, I don't think so. Winfield was a huge FA signing (probably the highest-paid player in the game when he signed with NY). Palmeiro was mostly just a guy who was either on the Orioles or the Rangers, depending on what year it was. And then everyone looked up and the ###### had 3,000 hits and 500 homers.

There's just too much THERE, there).


And that's what would have gotten him in eventually.

Is it possible he goes in within a year or two? Sure. As you note, the ballots were light. But's it's also quite possible he's taking a more Suttonian route to the Hall, because he wasn't seen as a true great at any point during his career. Never underestimate the felt like a Hall of Famer qualification, which is probably more important to more voters than any milestone. And to most writers, Raffy never did.
   40. Booey Posted: May 14, 2018 at 10:12 PM (#5672377)
Adding on to #38, it's not that Raffy's 569 would get him elected because it's over the 500 milestone; it would get him elected because it was 11th all time when he first hit the ballot (it's 12th now). I think Sheffield and his 509 homers are a better example of a guy that would have had a Sutton like climb to election absent PED's.
   41. SoSH U at work Posted: May 14, 2018 at 10:30 PM (#5672383)
I think Sheffield and his 509 homers are a better example of a guy that would have had a Sutton like climb to election absent PED's.


The fact that he went so far above 500 should have really helped his case, as it did with Sutton (as I've said, if Don had just slipped over line rather than getting 1/4 of the way to 400, I don't think he makes it at all through the writers. I also think adding on another 300-plus hits past 3,000 really helped Molitor). Additional time spent as an active player with a milestone is undeniably a good thing.

But it's also an inescapable fact that he fared extremely poorly with the writers compared with every other qualfied roider, even Sheff.

Obviously you must not think it means anything. But it sure stands out to me.
   42. Booey Posted: May 14, 2018 at 10:38 PM (#5672388)
But it's also an inescapable fact that he fared extremely poorly with the writers compared with every other qualfied roider, even Sheff.

Obviously you must not think it means anything. But it sure stands out to me.


It probably means something. But I think the fact that he actually failed a test - and none of these other guys did until Manny - means more. And I think the finger wag made it even worse. And he also debuted before the purge and when anti-roid sentiment was near it's peak. I suspect he'd do a little better if he debuted now (on the flipside, I suspect Manny would have done worse had he debuted before the purge).
   43. SoSH U at work Posted: May 14, 2018 at 10:49 PM (#5672396)
And McGwire admitted juicing 11 months before Palmeiro came on the ballot the first time. And Mac still got considerably more support.

Maybe Rafael's use was somehow more disqualifying than all of the other guys. I think the simpler explanation is that the writers weren't enthused by his candidacy, which is consistent with how they treated other guys they saw as mere compilers through the years.
   44. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 14, 2018 at 10:59 PM (#5672402)
Color me skeptical on that one. I realize there's a Clubhouse Code and all that, but I have a hard time believing that with all the hundreds/thousands of now-retired players who were active during the so-called Steroids Era, not a single one of them has come out and said this with anyone to back up his assertions.

Did you read Canseco's book? He talks about players injecting each other in bathroom stalls, recommending dealers, sharing juicing secrets and offering advice, etc, etc. Sounds pretty open to me.


Why do you think I wrote the last seven words of that first paragraph?
   45. Booey Posted: May 14, 2018 at 11:04 PM (#5672409)
Maybe Rafael's use was somehow more disqualifying than all of the other guys. I think the simpler explanation is that the writers weren't enthused by his candidacy, which is consistent with how they treated other guys they saw as mere compilers through the years.


Mac retired before testing was even implemented. Raffy was busted after testing was in place. I do think that made a big difference, yes. But I mostly agree with your second sentence, and Fishes #37 - I don't think writers were in love with Palmeiro's case and I do think they were happy to find an excuse to not vote for him. But minus that excuse, I suspect they would have voted him in pretty quickly anyway, especially on the first couple ballots that didn't have many better options. I don't think those opinions are necessarily contradictory.
   46. SoSH U at work Posted: May 14, 2018 at 11:11 PM (#5672423)
Mac retired before testing was even implemented. Raffy was busted after testing was in place. I do think that made a big difference, yes. But I mostly agree with your second sentence, and Fishes #37 - I don't think writers were in love with Palmeiro's case and I do think they were happy to find an excuse to not vote for him. But minus that excuse, I suspect they would have voted for him pretty quickly anyway. I don't think those opinions are necessarily contradictory.


Maybe not necessarily contradictory, but the entirety of your argument explaining Raffy's crappy support vs. every other steroid player to have hit the ballot, both before and after his stay, requires some gymnastics skill that is beyond my flexiblity level.
   47. Booey Posted: May 14, 2018 at 11:20 PM (#5672439)
Maybe not necessarily contradictory, but the entirety of your argument explaining Raffy's crappy support vs. every other steroid player to have hit the ballot, both before and after his stay, requires some gymnastics skill that is beyond my flexiblity level.


Um...Kay. In summary, my point is that even though writers may not have been too enthusiastic about voting for a PED free Raffy on the first or second ballot, I suspect they would have done it anyway minus better options. Once they had a valid excuse not to vote for him, they jumped on it. I think Palmeiro was probably hurt by PED's more than any other player. But none of that changes how a roid free Raffy would have fared, which was the original argument.
   48. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 14, 2018 at 11:31 PM (#5672454)
Um...Kay. In summary, my point is that even though writers may not have been too enthusiastic about voting for a PED free Raffy on the first or second ballot, I suspect they would have done it anyway minus better options.


Palmeiro was not much different from Eddie Murray. Murray did a little better in postseason awards rankings, but otherwise they where similar players. Murray easily went in in on the first ballot. It's revisionist history to say the writers were looking for an excuse to not elect Raffy. Sans the steroid thing, he's first or second ballot at worst.
   49. SoSH U at work Posted: May 14, 2018 at 11:35 PM (#5672456)
In summary, my point is that even though writers may not have been too enthusiastic about voting for a PED free Raffy on the first or second ballot, I suspect they would have done it anyway minus better options.


A lot of them undoubtedly would have. The feels like gang, which makes up a significant portion of the electorate, might have treated him in the exact same way they treated previous compilers Sutton and Wynn and Niekro and Killebrew and Mathews. And this is consistent with how he was perceived during his career.


Murray did a little better in postseason awards rankings, but otherwise they where similar players. Murray easily went in in on the first ballot.


I disagree wholeheartedly about the reputations of the two players (though that, in part, is due to their various eras). Murray was an 8-time all-star to four for Raffy. He was a fixture in MVP voting. Raffy was an afterthought. Murray was the premier first baseman of his era. Raffy was pretty far down that same list.

If you had asked me in 2010 whether he would have gone in first ballot, I would have guessed yes. But the simple fact is he fared much, much poorer in the real vote than every other steroid-connected player has. Perhaps he was singled out for his use in a way that McGwire wasn't, or Manny wouldn't be. But you've got to do a lot of corkscrewing to get there.
   50. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 14, 2018 at 11:47 PM (#5672461)
I disagree wholeheartedly about the reputations of the two players (though that, in part, due to their various eras).


the fact remains:

Murray - 3255 H, 504 HR, 129 OPS+ MVP : 2, 2, 4, 5, 5, 6, Black Ink 8

Palmeiro - 3020 H, 569 HR, 132 OPS+, MVP: 6, 8, Black Ink 8

I don't doubt that Murray was more famous, but I take issue that Murray was an obvious first ballot guy and Raffy was a guy the writers were looking for an excuse to exclude. By the stats I posted, Murray looks better, but hardly overwhelmingly so.
   51. Booey Posted: May 14, 2018 at 11:54 PM (#5672464)
A lot of them undoubtedly would have. The feels like gang, which makes up a significant portion of the electorate, might have treated him in the exact same way they treated previous compilers Sutton and Wynn and Niekro and Killebrew and Mathews. And this is consistent with how he was perceived during his career.


My issue with these examples is that all these guys debuted way before Palmeiro, back when voting habits were a bit different. The "Yeah, he's a HOFer, but not 1st ballot" nonsense had subsided quite a bit from when Mathews and Killebrew debuted to when Raffy did 30 years later. To me, it seemed to start fading in the early 2000's when guys like Winfield, Puckett, Molitor, and Eckersley all got elected right off the bat. Would they have been considered "first ballot" guys by traditionalists in generations past? I'm not so sure. On the flipside, I think Mathews and Killebrew at least are surefire first ballot guys had they debuted in the 2010's (They're basically Chipper and Thome respectively, no?).
   52. SoSH U at work Posted: May 15, 2018 at 12:04 AM (#5672466)
I don't doubt that Murray was more famous, but I take issue that Murray was an obvious first ballot guy and Raffy was a guy the writers were looking for an excuse to exclude. By the stats I posted, Murray looks better, but hardly overwhelmingly so.


So what's your explanation why the writers treated him worse than they did every other steroid guy before and after? Because they absolutely did. It's not revisionist history to say that Raffy's vote totals were pretty crappy compared to other roiders.

The "Yeah, he's a HOFer, but not 1st ballot" nonsense had subsided quite a bit from when Mathews and Killebrew debuted to when Raffy did 30 years later.


You're talking about four and five ballots. That wasn't first-ballot nonsense keeping them or Sutton out or Niekro out.
   53. Booey Posted: May 15, 2018 at 12:12 AM (#5672469)
You're talking about four and five ballots. That wasn't first-ballot nonsense keeping them or Sutton out or Niekro out.


With Mathews and Killebrew, it was probably more the obsession with batting average at the time rather than OBP. Either way, I don't think their struggles are particularly relevant to Palmeiro's chances.

I don't know if there's a great (semi) recent example to compare Raffy to, but I'd guess that the BEST comps would be Murray, Winfield, and Molitor. All guys without overwhelming support (80-something percent), but still first ballot.
   54. SoSH U at work Posted: May 15, 2018 at 12:24 AM (#5672471)
I don't know if there's a great (semi) recent example to compare Raffy to, but I'd guess that the BEST comps would be Murray, Winfield, and Molitor. All guys without overwhelming support (80-something percent), but still first ballot.


Maybe. And I'm sure I thought the same in 2010. Now, with the benefit of seeing how uniquely poorly he did in the actual balloting by those writers, I think he might have struggled more than I initially anticipated. Frankly, that seems a more logical explanation than he was punished for his use more severely than anyone else has been.

The more I look at these things, the more I think we overestimate milestones and comps and underestimate the feels like vote.

   55. Adam Starblind Posted: May 15, 2018 at 06:58 AM (#5672502)
Yes, but it's hard to come up with an argument for keeping guys who served their time out of the Hall that doesn't boil down basically to simple spite.


That's not true.
   56. Adam Starblind Posted: May 15, 2018 at 07:06 AM (#5672503)
And McGwire admitted juicing 11 months before Palmeiro came on the ballot the first time. And Mac still got considerably more support.


19.8% vs. 11% doesn't strike me as so different that it can't be mostly explained by Palmeiro actually failing a test--not because it proves he did it (we know McGwire did it), but because it was undeniably cheating when Palmeiro got caught. Some voters drew that distinction.

But it's also true that peak has always beaten length in HOF voting, and McGwire had his 70 HR season.
   57. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 15, 2018 at 07:30 AM (#5672504)

Murray and Palmeiro had very similar career lines (they are each other's most similar player for most seasons after age 33), but the shape was very different. Murray was a ROY and a power-hitting star from the get-go, who peaked in his mid-late 20s and then hung around for a long time. Palmeiro started out as a lighter hitter and really peaked as a hitter in his mid 30s. By the time each retired they both were viewed more as compilers rather than peak guys. And if Murray had been caught doping, I think he would have experienced a similar fate to Palmeiro.

Palmeiro's later career power surge, while fueled by the era and park, I think also made it especially easy for writers to dismiss his numbers as a product of PEDs.

I think he also also gets hurt more than Murray for playing in an era of great DH/1B types. In a way, this is penalizing him twice since some of those other guys were also using.
   58. Traderdave Posted: May 15, 2018 at 02:04 PM (#5672731)
Speaking of PED's, Robbie Cano is in the news.....
   59. Lassus Posted: May 15, 2018 at 02:42 PM (#5672783)
I hear there's an opening on the Mariners...

DAMMIT TRADERDAVE

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