Rafael Palmeiro, who’s 53 and last played in 2005, says he is thinking about trying to make a comeback.
Palmeiro told The Athletic “there’s no doubt in my mind I can do it.”
A four-time All-Star first baseman, Palmeiro played for the Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles over a 20-year career, racking up over 500 home runs and 3,000 hits — one of only five major leaguers to achieve that feat.
He said he still has something to prove, however. Palmeiro’s career ended in 2005, after he was suspended in August for testing positive for steroids. He was the first major-league baseball player ever suspended for steroids.
Just months earlier, Palmeiro had testified at a Congressional hearing about steroids in baseball and said, “Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.”
Palmeiro, who retired quietly in September 2005 after the 10-game suspension, has always maintained that he never used steroids.
“Maybe 12 years later, if I can come back and prove I don’t need anything as an older player with an older body, then people might think, OK, maybe he didn’t do anything intentionally,” Palmeiro said.
The oldest player regularly playing position player in Major League Baseball was Julio Franco, who was 49 when he retired in 2007.
“I want to prove to myself I can do it on a high level,” Palmeiro said, “then walk away feeling good about the whole body of work.” Baltimore general manager Dan Duquette did not entirely dismiss the notion of giving Palmeiro a shot.
“It would be an interesting story,” Duquette said. “It’s like tying your shoes … If you can hit, then you can hit.”
Palmeiro’s son Preston is currently a member of the Orioles organization, having hit .253 with 13 home runs and 77 RBIs while playing first base for the team’s Class-A affiliate Delmarva last season.
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