ESPN Rafael Palmeiro, who is 53 and last played in 2005, said 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 more than 500 home runs and 3,000 hits. He is 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 suspended for steroids. Just months before that, Palmeiro 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 regularly playing position player in Major League Baseball history was Julio Franco, who was 49 when he retired in 2007.
Sign me up for this story, if 53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro is going to make a major league comeback, I will be watching closely and rooting for the disgraced slugger to make a big league roster. In fact, let’s add an additional two teams in each league, which are comprised entirely of players in their 50’s who think they can still play. Rafael Palmeiro was one of the most dangerous 1990’s, he would be in the Hall Of Fame with his career numbers (.288 average, 3,020 hits, 569 home runs, 1,835 RBIs) if not for his ties to the steroid scandal. Palmeiro adamantly denied taking steroids, then tested positive for banned substances when he failed a drug test leading to a suspension, but still denies he ever took steroids. I hope that 53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro makes the Orioles, hits another 100 home runs, and ends up in Cooperstown after all. Where he belongs.