Rafael Palmeiro, who has not played in the majors since 2005, is contemplating a comeback, the 53-year old told The Athletic.
Palmeiro has two reasons for wanting to play again: 1) He believes he can still be of value to a team and 2) he wants to get rid of a bad taste in his mouth that lingers from the way his career ended.
At a 2005 congressional hearing on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, Palmeiro defiantly pointed his finger and said, “I have never used steroids, period.” Later that season, he was suspended for 10 days for testing positive for the potent anabolic steroid stanozolol. He was released by the Orioles, and he hasn’t played in the majors since.
“There’s no doubt in my mind I can do it,” Palmeiro said. “I’ve taken care of myself really well. I’ve been working out for years. Everything feels better than when I played.”
But the latter of the two reasons listed above feels like the more important one to Palmeiro.
“Maybe 12 years later, I can prove to the whole world that I didn’t need anything to have a good career,” Palmeiro said, via Bleacher Report. “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.'”
General managers around MLB, though, doubt Palmeiro’s chances of making it back to the bigs, one telling The Atlantic he “would need to dominate in an independent or overseas league for a team to even consider him.”
But Palmeiro doesn’t seem interested in working his way up to the show.
“If I go to spring training with a legitimate chance to make the team, I won’t have to go to the minors,” he said, per CBS Sports.
So while Palmeiro, who played for the Cubs, Rangers and Orioles during his 20-year career, is one of five players in MLB history with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, his 569 and 3,020 in those categories figure to stand as lifetime totals.