It has long been said that reaching 3000 hits in the Major Leagues guarantees you entry into the Hall of Fame. Of course that isn’t exactly true, as 28 hitters in the history of the game have reached the milestone, but only twenty four members are currently in the Hall.
To be fair, two of the clubs members aren’t eligible for voting yet. Eligibility requires that a player be retired for five seasons, or deceased for at least six months, which disqualifies Craig Biggio, who will be eligible for the next Hall of Fame election in 2013, and Derek Jeter, who is still playing.
When eligible, Jeter is an absolute first ballot hall of famer, and Biggio will likely get in, but probably not on the first try.
The other two who are part of the club but not in the Hall of Fame are two distinctive cases that have been well chronicled.
Rafael Palmeiro, who is eligible for Hall of Fame voting, hasn’t received the necessary amount of votes largely because he upset voters when adamantly declaring in front of congress that he did not use steroids, and then subsequently tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Pete Rose is the other member of the 3000 hit club who is not in the Hall, and has not been eligible for voting since he was declared permanently ineligible by then Commissioner Bart Giamatti after he was caught betting on baseball games while managing the Cincinnati Reds.
Other than the two unique circumstances that are currently keeping Palmeiro and Rose out of
the Hall, so far it’s been a pretty sure bet that if you reach 3000 hits, you’ve punched your ticket to the Hall.
That might be changing, as only two of the active five players who could reach 3000 hits in the next three years are surefire hall of famers. The other three could still be on the bubble, even if they do reach the vaulted milestone.