Oh boy, here we go.
Retired baseball player Rafael Palmeiro told The Athletic that “there’s no doubt in my mind I can do it,” while talking about a potential return to the MLB at the ripe old age of 53.
During his 20-year MLB career, Palmeiro played first base for the Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles, making 4 All-Star teams and becoming one of only 5 players to ever hit over 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.
However, Palmeiro’s career has been forever tainted due to steroid use, as he was the first MLB player to ever be suspended for using PEDs. The suspension ultimately resulted in his retirement in 2005. Just prior to the suspension, Palmeiro told Congress, “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.”
In spite of the steroid allegations, Palmeiro has remained adamant in regards to denying ever having used them. He said,
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.
He continued to say, “I want to prove to myself I can do it on a high level then walk away feeling good about the whole body of work.”
A return at 53-years-old would make Palmeiro the oldest position player to consistently play in the MLB of all time, beating out Julio Franco, who retired in 2007 at the age of 49.
Orioles GM Dan Diquette, interestingly enough, did not entirely dismiss a return by Palmeiro to the organization. He said, “It would be an interesting story. It’s like tying your shoes … If you can hit, then you can hit.”
Preston Palmeiro, Rafael’s son, is actually playing in the Orioles’ minor league system, so the two could theoretically be the first father-son duo to play on the same team since Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr. did it in the early 90s.
Honestly, though, even if he does come back, I don’t see Palmeiro having any real shot at success. Like, come on, really? This is easily the silliest sports story of the day and I’ll be shocked if it actually moves forward. However, if it everything falls into place well enough for a Rafael Palmeiro return, it’ll at least be entertaining as hell to watch.