Rafael Palmeiro, 53, Considers MLB Comeback 12 Years After Ending Career

Aubrey Yates
December 7, 2017

Over his 20-year career, Palmiero played for the Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles and is now only one of five major leaguers to have more than 500 home runs and 3,000 hits. A 53-year-old trying to hit a Clayton Kershaw curveball either will be hysterically amusing or, if he can actually do it, simply unbelievable. Later that season, he was suspended for 10 days for testing positive for the potent anabolic steroid stanozolol. In 2008, he was inducted into the Mississippi State University Hall of Fame and in 2009, he was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.

That is entirely because Palmeiro has been labeled a steroid user, something he has strongly denied.

If he were to join the Orioles, the team would have two generations of Palmeiros in the organization. According to Rosenthal, Palmeiro "does not sound willing to take any sort of indirect path to the majors", which you would figure would severely hamper his chances if he can't prove to big league execs that he can still hit.

But the latter of the two reasons listed above feels like the more important one to Palmeiro. But, if he played again - his name could return to the ballot. Sure, he's going back into the majors at 53 when the oldest regular position player was Julio Franco, who retired in 2007 at age 49, but he believes in himself.

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None of that matters, though.

The initial steroid ban in Major League baseball was implemented in 1991, and punishment for steroid use has grown stricter since then. In fact, in 2005, when he was with the Orioles, he was suspended for PED use. A second offense comes with a 162-game suspension, an entire season.

Just months before he tested positive, Palmeiro gave an unforgettable testimony at a Congressional hearing about performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. But regardless of how good a hitter he was, that was 13 years ago.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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