CLEBURNE, Texas — Rafael Palmeiro is not taking part in for a minor league workforce at age 53 simply so he will be teammates along with his son.
Palmeiro stated he is aware of there are individuals who assume he has misplaced his thoughts, however he’s critical about eager to make an enormous league comeback practically 13 years after his profession ended below a cloud when he examined constructive for a banned steroid.
“I’m doing it because I love the game first of all,” Palmeiro stated Thursday. “And because I want to get back to proving to myself that I can do this and maybe for some of those people that think that I cheated, they might think again and say well, wait a minute, he’s 53 years old, he’s playing at this level, he’s playing in the big leagues, he’s producing. Maybe some of those will say, OK, he did it legitimately.”
Palmeiro goes the unbiased league route after not getting a non-roster invite from an MLB workforce throughout spring coaching. Palmeiro and his 28-year-old son Patrick, a 3rd baseman, had been launched by the second-year Cleburne Railroaders of the American Affiliation, then performed within the workforce’s first spring coaching recreation.
“I know that I can do it and I was looking for an opportunity,” stated Palmeiro, who performed first base and went 1-for-2 with a strikeout.
It was a few 45-mile drive from the Texas Rangers‘ ballpark, the place Palmeiro performed 10 of his 20 main league seasons and hit his 500th homer in 2003. The four-time All-Star additionally performed for the Chicago Cubs.
The elder Palmeiro took a known as third strike on a troublesome slider in his first at-bat, then led off the ninth with a pointy single. Patrick Palmeiro had a single and walked, and likewise had a nifty sliding seize at third earlier than getting up and finishing the play with a throw to his father.
“He’s going to hit,” Patrick Palmeiro stated. “He was born to hit. We go hit in the cage every day and the show he puts on in the batting practice, it’s impressive … This guy doesn’t pick up a bat for 10 years and he looked like he just stopped playing, getting ready for spring training like his last game was in September.”
One in every of solely six gamers in MLB historical past with three,000 hits and 500 residence runs, Rafael Palmeiro was shunned by Corridor of Fame voters. He fell off the poll 4 years in the past after getting lower than the 5 % vote needed to remain.
Whereas he has by no means denied testing constructive in 2005, Palmeiro stated he by no means deliberately took any banned substances and tainted vitamin shot brought about his failed take a look at.
“When I was done with my career, the way it ended, I wanted nothing to do with baseball,” Palmeiro stated. “It didn’t end the way I wanted it to, especially the way that I worked throughout my career and what I put in and the kind of career that I had. … It took me a long time to get to the point where I am today.”
Palmeiro says he truly feels higher bodily than when he was taking part in. He labored out this offseason with each his sons. The youthful son, Preston, is within the minor league system of the Baltimore Orioles, his father’s final workforce.
As for his Corridor of Fame probabilities, Rafael Palmeiro stated he isn’t attempting to get into an enormous league recreation simply to restart the clock on poll eligibility, which is 5 years after a participant’s last recreation.
“My time came and went,” Palmeiro stated. “That clock has gone, it’s dead, it’s not going to get restarted. I don’t want it. If it happens the other way with the veterans committee, I’ll accept it and move on.”
Palmeiro stated he had no concept if voters had been taking a distinct stance because it will get longer for the reason that rise in performance-enhancing medicine within the 1990s earlier than testing and penalties began. However he has seen the rise of votes for gamers from that period, together with residence run chief Barry Bonds and seven-time Cy Younger winner Roger Clemens.
Bonds and Clemens each acquired greater than 56 % of the vote final 12 months after being round 35 % in 2014. Ivan Rodriguez, certainly one of Palmeiro’s former teammates, was inducted final 12 months.
Cleburne performed a journey workforce from New Jersey at Cleburne Excessive Faculty. On the outfield fence had been the names and numbers of three alumni who performed within the massive leagues — Spike Owen, Dave Owen and Dillon Gee, the latter now pitching in Japan.