Results of 2014 voting for the Hall of Fame confirmed Rafael Palmeiro's worst fears: The architect of one of the top batting resumes in baseball history fell off future ballots.
The fourth-time candidate received only 4.4 percent of the 571 votes cast, missing the 5-percent cutoff for sustaining his candidacy. Palmeiro's support steadily declined after a slight jump from 64 votes in his first year of eligibility in 2011 to 72 in 2012. He earned 50 votes last year and 25 in this most recent balloting.
Palmeiro built an unassailable Hall of Fame platform during a 20-year career through 2005, but it was leveled by a 2005 suspension for a violation of Major League Baseball's Drug Policy.
That cast a pervasive shadow over his 569 home runs and 3,020 hits, and now has evicted him from even Cooperstown purgatory.
The only three other men in history to reach those batting milestones -- Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Eddie Murray -- were first-ballot choices for the Hall of Fame.
Palmeiro has long had a premonition about his fate, only reinforced by his dwindling votes totals and the arrival on the ballot of persuasive new candidates.
"I am concerned that now ... with the guys coming up, some of my votes will be taken off and given to other guys," Palmeiro said a year ago, upon announcement of the 2013 results. "I don't think there is anything I can do."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.