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Rafael Palmeiro

First baseman
Born: September 24, 1964 (1964-09-24) (age 45)
Havana, Cuba
Batted: Left Threw: Left 
MLB debut
September 8, 1986 for the Chicago Cubs
Last MLB appearance
August 30, 2005 for the Baltimore Orioles
Career statistics
Batting average     .288
Hits     3,020
Home runs     569
Runs batted in     1,835
Career highlights and awards

Rafael Palmeiro Corrales (born September 24, 1964 in Havana, Cuba) is a former Major League Baseball player with a career spanning 20 years, 1986 to 2005. Though he never officially retired, Palmeiro has not played since 2005.

Palmeiro was an All-American at Mississippi State University before being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1985. He played three seasons with the Cubs (1986-1988), ten seasons with the Texas Rangers (19891993, 19992003), and seven seasons with the Baltimore Orioles (19941998, 20042005). He was named to the MLB All-Star Team four times, and won the Gold Glove three times. He is a member of the exclusive 500 home run club and the 3000 hit club and is only the fourth player in history to be a member of both.

Days after recording his 3000th hit, Palmeiro was suspended for testing positive for a steroid. The positive test has called into question the legitimacy of his career statistics, as well as the validity of his congressional testimony he gave earlier that year in which he denied steroid use.


Baseball career (1986-2005)

Palmeiro debuted on September 8, 1986 in a game between the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field, as a left fielder.[1] During his tenure with the Cubs, he normally played left field, though occasionally he would play other outfield positions or first base. Palmeiro was the runner up to National League batting champion Tony Gwynn in 1988 with a .307 batting average, only six points below Gwynn's. After the 1988 season, Palmeiro was traded by the Cubs to the Texas Rangers along with Jamie Moyer and Drew Hall in exchange for Mitch Williams, Paul Kilgus, Steve Wilson, Curtis Wilkerson, Luis Benitez, and Pablo Delgado.

Upon moving to the American League, Palmeiro was primarily used as a first baseman or designated hitter. Palmeiro blossomed as a hitter while with the Rangers, leading the league in hits in 1990 and doubles in 1991. In 1990, he was third in the American League in batting.

Prior to Palmeiro's 1995 season, he had hit more than 30 home runs only once (37 in 1993). Starting in 1995, Palmeiro began a streak of 38+ home run years that continued through the 2003 season. He hit 373 home runs during this nine-season span, while also driving in over 100 runs in each of these seasons. However, Palmeiro never led the league in home runs, and is history's most prolific home run hitter to have never won the home run crown.

On May 11, 2003, Palmeiro hit his 500th home run off David Elder in a game against the Cleveland Indians. Two years later, Palmeiro joined Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray as the only players in major league history to get 3,000 hits and 500 home runs when he got his 3,000th base hit off Joel Pineiro during a game against the Seattle Mariners on July 15, 2005. Because most of Palmeiro's home runs came with the Rangers and Orioles, he is one of only four players in history to hit over 200 home runs for two different clubs.

Palmeiro has played in 2,831 major league games, the most by any player who has never played in the World Series. His 1999 Gold Glove Award is regarded by many as the most controversial selection in history, because he won the award despite playing only 28 games at first base that season.[2][3] He played most of his games that year as a designated hitter.

Palmeiro filed for free agency on October 29, 2005, indicating he would attempt to play his 20th season in baseball. As of 2010, he has not signed or played with any team. This makes the possibility of a comeback unlikely. Palmeiro currently resides in Colleyville, TX with his wife and two sons.

Palmeiro was inducted into the Mississippi State University Hall of Fame on Saturday, October 11, 2008.


Former Rangers teammate José Canseco identified Palmeiro as a fellow steroid user in his 2005 book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, and claimed he personally injected Palmeiro with steroids. On March 17, 2005, Palmeiro appeared at a Congressional hearing about steroids in baseball and, while under oath, denied ever using steroids and stated, "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."[4]

On August 1, 2005, Palmeiro was suspended for ten days after testing positive for a steroid.[5] The Washington Post reported that the steroid detected in Palmeiro's system was a "serious" one.[6] According to The New York Times, Palmeiro tested positive for the potent anabolic steroid stanozolol.[7] In a public statement, Palmeiro disclosed that an appeal of the suspension had already been denied. He released a statement saying, "I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period. Ultimately, although I never intentionally put a banned substance into my body, the independent arbitrator ruled that I had to be suspended under the terms of the program."[8] According to Palmeiro, all of his previous tests over the two years including the 2003 sealed test were negative, and a test he took just three weeks after his positive test was also negative.[9]

Palmeiro returned to Camden Yards following his 10-day suspension on August 11, 2005, although he did not play in the lineup until August 14. Coincidentally, this was the date that had been planned as "Rafael Palmeiro Appreciation Day" in celebration of his 500-home run, 3,000-hit milestone. It was canceled after Palmeiro's suspension. Palmeiro famously inserted earplugs in his ears to block out the loud boos of the fans during a subsequent game in Toronto against the Blue Jays.[10]

The Baltimore Sun reported that Palmeiro never offered an explanation for his positive test to the MLB arbitration panel, which ran contrary to his public statements.[11] ESPN later reported that Palmeiro implicated Miguel Tejada to baseball's arbitration panel, suggesting a supplement provided to him by Tejada was responsible for his positive test. This supplement was simply vitamin B12, though it could have been tainted.[12] Tejada and two unnamed teammates provided B12 samples to the panel, which did not contain stanozolol. However, the committee did say they found "substantial inconsistencies between Mr. Tejada's accounts and the accounts of players A and B." [13] Tejada, who said he received shipments of B12 from the Dominican Republic, was later implicated for steroid use in the Mitchell Report.[14]

On November 10, 2005, ESPN reported that the House Government Reform Committee would not seek perjury charges against Palmeiro, although they were not clearing him.[15]

Palmeiro strongly continues to deny ever using steroids intentionally, telling the Baltimore Sun in June, 2006, "Yes sir, that's what happened. It's not a story; it's the reality of what happened," and "I said what I said before Congress because I meant every word of it."[16] Palmeiro passed a polygraph test in which he was not asked if he ever used steroids, but in which he did state that he unknowingly ingested them via a B12 injection.[17][18] A 2005 New York Times article expressed one writer's belief that Palmeiro's story could perhaps be the truth.[19]

In December 2007, Palmeiro was included in the Mitchell Report in which it was alleged that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his career. The report did not provide any new evidence and only recapped allegations made by José Canseco, Palmeiro's appearance before Congress, and his subsequent failed drug test. The report also details a conversation Larry Bigbie alleges he had with Palmeiro where he claims "Palmeiro asked him about his source of steroids and human growth hormone (the source was Kirk Radomski) and how the substances made him feel." Bigbie also stated that "Palmeiro denied in those conversations that he had ever used performance enhancing substances himself."[20]

On December 20, 2007, Palmeiro was also named in Jason Grimsley's unsealed affidavit as a user of amphetamines prior to their being banned by MLB.[21]

See also


External links

Preceded by
John Olerud
Bernie Williams
Nomar Garciaparra
Joe Randa
American League Player of the Month
July 1993
June 1998
June 1999
August 1999 (with Iván Rodríguez)
Succeeded by
Frank Thomas
Albert Belle
Joe Randa
Albert Belle

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