Rafael Palmeiro one of only four members of 500 HR/3,000 hit club
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Rafael Palmeiro's numbers place him among the greatest hitters ever to play the game.
Palmeiro, who played 20 big league seasons with the Rangers, Orioles and Cubs, is one of 33 players on the 2011 Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot for the Class of 2011 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Palmeiro is making his debut on the BBWAA ballot.
BBWAA members who have at least 10 years of tenure with the organization can vote in the election, and the results will be announced Jan. 5. Any candidate who receives at least 75 percent of all BBWAA votes cast will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2011. The Induction Ceremony will be held July 24 in Cooperstown.
Born Sept. 24, 1964, in Havana, Cuba, Palmeiro's family came to the United States in 1971. He quickly showed aptitude for baseball, and after high school in Miami enrolled at Mississippi State University, where he played baseball. A three-time All-American, Palmeiro was drafted with the 22nd overall pick by the Cubs in 1985.
The next season, Palmeiro was in the majors. By 1988, he had made his first All-Star team. Traded to the Rangers after that season in a nine-player deal, Palmeiro established himself as one of the American League's most consistent performers. He led the AL in hits in 1990 with 191, topped the 30-homer mark (with 37) and 100-RBI plateau (with 105) for the first time in 1993 and won the first of three straight Gold Glove Awards at first base in 1997.
From 1995-2003, Palmeiro averaged 41 homers and 120 RBI per season. He also played in an average of 156 games a season during that span.
He signed with the Orioles as a free agent before the 1994 season, then returned to Texas via free agency from 1999-2003. He spent his final two seasons of 2004 and 2005 with the Orioles.
On Aug. 1, 2005, Major League Baseball announced that Palmeiro had violated the league's drug policy and would be suspended for 10 games. He appeared in his last major league game on Aug. 30, 2005.
He amassed 3,020 hits and 569 home runs during his career, and his 1,835 RBI rank 15th on the all-time list.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum