|ESPN.com: Page 2||[Print without images]|
|Don't be mad, Raffy. Nothing personal.|
|MORE ON PALMEIRO|
|No one's denying Palmeiro has a sweet swing. But that doesn't make him Hall-worthy.|
Sandberg belongs in the Hall of Very Good. Yet Boggs and Sandberg will both be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 31. Andre Dawson (one MVP, eight All-Star teams) and Dale Murphy (two MVPs, seven All-Star teams) are notable Hall snubs. I'd trade Palmeiro for either of them. Still, I don't lie awake nights wondering how, in the name of Babe Ruth, Dawson and Murphy aren't Hall of Famers. I don't want a Hall of Sympathy for Very Good Players. I want rare greatness, Olympus-high standards. Roger Clemens? Obviously! Barry Bonds? Even pre-steroids, no doubt. Mariano Rivera: Sure! Greg Maddux? No-brainer. Curt Schilling: Darn right. Randy Johnson? Never been anything quite like him. Sammy Sosa? Uh, well, just because he had three 60-plus home run seasons at the height of the steroid era Sosa is not in my Hall of Fame either. Sosa has too often been the master of the meaningless home run. In the clutch, Sosa too often has swung at strike three in the dirt (he has led the league in strikeouts three times). Sosa too often has been a liability in right field. If you want to put Sammy in your Lovable Cartoon Character Hall of Fame, fine. But he's not in my Hall. Mark McGwire? Gut feeling: Yes, with or without steroids. He was a 12-time All-Star (to Sosa's seven) and helped carry three Oakland teams to the World Series (to Sosa's none). McGwire was the most feared power hitter of his time. Though Jose Canseco goes into detail in his book about how he educated Palmeiro about (and injected him with) steroids, Palmeiro heatedly denied ever using steroids when he testified before Congress. Canseco joined Palmeiro in Texas for the final two months of the '92 season. That season, Palmeiro hit 22 homers. The next, he hit 37 and turned into a legitimate 40-homer threat. Still, let's assume Canseco is lying. Steroid-free, Palmeiro isn't a Hall of Famer. Give me no-doubters. Give me Aaron, Banks, Bench, Brock, Carew, Carlton, Clemente, Cobb, Dizzy Dean, DiMaggio, Drysdale, Eckersley, Feller, Whitey Ford, Gehrig, Gibson, Grove, Hornsby, Hubbell, Walter Johnson, Kaline, Killebrew, Koufax, Mantle, Marichal, Mathewson, Mays, McCovey Mize, Morgan, Musial, Ott, Paige, Palmer, Reese, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jackie Robinson, Ruth, Nolan Ryan, Schmidt, Seaver, Sisler, Ozzie Smith, Snider, Spahn, Speaker, Stargell, Honus Wagner, Ted Williams, Yastrzemski, Cy Young and Robin Yount. Sorry, Raffy. Skip Bayless can be seen Monday through Friday on "Cold Pizza," ESPN2's morning show, and at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN's "1st & 10." His column appears twice weekly on Page 2. You can e-mail Skip here.