|Kat's Contemplations: Rafael Palmeiro||| Print |||Send|
Written by Katherina DiChristina (Contact & Archive) on June 29, 2003
That’s the question I keep hearing people ask and I can’t for the LIFE of me figure out why. It seems even ludicrous to ask that question; in my opinion, Rafael Palmeiro has the Hall of Fame written all over him. He is known as having one of the sweetest swings in the game and now with the magical 500th home run being hit, he is only a season+ away from 3,000 hits. How can this even be controversial? If it weren’t controversial I would not feel the need to write about it.
The question stands, is Rafael Palmeiro superior to others? I believe so. I also feel most people would agree with me. Palmeiro has always intimidated the opposing pitcher and has been recognized as one of the best hitters in the game. He played in more games than Cal Ripken in the 90’s, so we know he’s more durable than a player given the name “The Iron Man.”
Highlighting that durability would be the fact that the 38-year old has a streak of 8 straight seasons of 38 or more home runs going. That is consistency ladies and gentlemen. It is not pure brute strength. Like some of the home run hitters of today, he has quick hands and fantastic timing, and just always puts the sweetest swing on the ball. In my opinion, he does have the sweetest swing in baseball.
The conversion from a line drive opposite way gap hitter who led the league in singles, to a power pull hitter should be taken into consideration. It’s not like he went from a .250 average to suddenly 45 home runs a year, which is always worth a little controversy. He could always hit - but home runs are NOT all he was about. He has always been able to hit the ball and he has always been able to catch the ball, highlighted by his 3 gold gloves.
For comparison, let’s throw out Mark McGwire. He boasts a .263 lifetime batting average, with 279 more strike outs than walks. 1626 lifetime hits. Now Raffy. He has a very respectable .292 batting average and only 15 more strike outs than walks. 2697 total hits. He'll reach 3,000 before his career is over. McGwire was simply flashy. Everybody loves home runs!
Well you know what - this girl loves consistency and Palmeiro has been very consistent. I think the fact that McGwire is a shoe-in for the hall and everyone is debating whether Palmeiro should go is indeed idiotic.