By Dan Connolly
The Baltimore Sun
2:41 PM EST, January 8, 2014
Rafael Palmeiro, one of only four players to have at least 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, cannot be voted into the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Finger wag and failed test aside, that’s a shame.
After receiving just 25 votes -- half of the 50 he received last year -- Palmeiro fell to 4.4 percent inclusion on the 571 ballots cast, meaning he fell under the 5 percent needed to stay on for next year.
Let’s face it. It had nothing to do with his stats.
It had everything to do with his failed drug test in 2005 that basically ended his career. It probably had something to do with his emphatic finger wag in March 2005 when he said he had never taken performance-enhancing drugs.
And it certainly had something to do with the packed Hall of Fame ballot this year and the 10-person limit for voting.
There were arguably 18 or more qualified candidates, and Palmeiro became the primary casualty in 2014, when three newcomers -- Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas -- all received more than the 75 percent needed for induction.
Palmeiro is out, and now will have to wait for the veterans committee to give him the OK.
Personally, I think that’s too bad.
Even if Palmeiro never gets into the Hall of Fame, it’s hard to argue that he shouldn’t be on the ballot for all 15 years. But I believe the writers’ hands were tied by the 10-man limit.
I think that also affected the number of votes garnered by Mike Mussina, who picked up 20.3 percent (116 votes).
Again, that number has more to do with the crowded ballot than Mussina’s career. So many deserving players took steps backward this year, including pitcher Jack Morris, who fell off the ballot in his 15th and final year (61.5 percent).
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