Rafael Palmeiro reached the 3,000-hit plateau with an RBI double last night to help the Orioles to their fourth win in a row and secure at least a series split in Seattle.
Congratulations Raffy. What a class act. He is now one of just four players with 3,000 hits and 500 homeruns and is destined to become a first ballot Hall-of-Famer.
I’ve seen several recent articles lately about why Palmeiro doesn’t deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. It’s really sad to see a guy like Raffy, who stands for so many good things in today’s sports world, having his accomplishments criticized rather than celebrated. This should have been a feel good moment for baseball, a truly historic accomplishment, but instead has been overshadowed by negative publicity from the media.
I apologize to people like Skip Bayless that believe Raffy isn’t worthy of the Hall. Sorry Raffy has accomplished something only four players have done in the history of the game. Sorry Raffy is a class act, a guy who has achieved his accomplishments through a sweet stroke and not steroids. Sorry Raffy isn’t a showboat or jerk that would put him in the media spotlight and make him a better sound bite. Sorry Raffy has class and has gone about his job day after day and quietly produced like few have ever done before.
The notion that a guy like Sammy Sosa, who appears to have been using steroids, deserves to be held in higher regard than Palmeiro is ridiculous. Look at the numbers. Palmeiro has greatly outproduced Sosa in every statistical category except homeruns. As for homeruns, at this current pace, Palmeiro will surpass Sosa in career homeruns sometime next year, if Raffy opts to play another season.
I guess longevity is a bad thing in the eyes of the media. I don’t understand how a guy who hit at least 38 homeruns in eight consecutive seasons, something that had never been done before, has reached such great career numbers only because he has been around for a long time.
I’m not a homer arguing for Palmeiro’s legacy just because I want to see Raffy enter the Hall as an Oriole, which he will. I’m an ambassador of baseball, a guy who loves the sport and sees Rafael as the throwback ball player we long to see return to the game. I have never seen a sweeter stroke than that of Palmeiro connecting with the ball and lifting it over the right-field scoreboard at Camden Yards.
So congratulations to Rafael Palmeiro. Your accomplishments put you among the game’s greatest, and the numbers don’t lie.
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