- LF, OF, RF, 1B, CF, DH
- September 24, 1964
- 180 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-08-1986 with CHN
- Allstar Selections:
- 1997 GG, 1998 GG, 1998 SS, 1999 GG, 1999 ML, 1999 SS
Rafael Palmeiro Corrales (born September 24, 1964 in Havana, Cuba) is a former Major League Baseball first baseman and left fielder. Palmeiro was an All-American at Mississippi State University before being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1985. He played for 20 years for the Cubs (1986–1988), Texas Rangers (1989–1993, 1999–2003), and the Baltimore Orioles (1994–1998, 2004–2005). 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 3,000 hit club and is only the fifth player in history to be a member of both.
Days after recording his 3,000th hit, Palmeiro was suspended for testing positive for an anabolic steroid.
Early life and college
Palmeiro was born in Havana, Cuba and graduated from Miami Jackson High School. He played college baseball at Mississippi State University. Although he was drafted by the New York Mets in the 8th round of the 1982 draft, he did not sign. On June 11, 1985, Palmeiro signed with the Chicago Cubs as the 22nd pick in the 1st round of the 1985 draft.
Major league 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. 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 five 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. 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 was inducted into the Mississippi State University Hall of Fame on October 11, 2008. Mississippi State University M-Club Alumni Association & Sports Hall of FameIn 2009, he was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. College Baseball Foundation - hall of fame
Palmeiro became eligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011. He received 64 votes, or 11.0 percent of total ballots cast; the threshold for entry is 75 percent. According to Barry M. Bloom on Major League Baseball's official website: "Palmeiro should have been a sure-fire first-ballot inductee, as a member of the 500-homer, 3,000-hit club, but was suspended in 2005 after testing positive for steroid use. He received only 11 percent of the vote."
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." ESPN - Palmeiro docked 10 days for steroids - MLB
On August 1, 2005, Palmeiro was suspended for ten days after testing positive for a steroid. The Washington Post reported that the steroid detected in Palmeiro's system was a "serious" one. According to The New York Times, Palmeiro tested positive for the potent anabolic steroid stanozolol. 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." WLTX.com Sports 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. Baseball: Palmeiro weighs unknowns - International Herald Tribune
Palmeiro returned to Oriole Park at 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 wore earplugs to block out the loud boos of fans in Toronto during a subsequent game against the Blue Jays.
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. Palmeiro provided no details about test - Upper House, Volusia County, Baltimore Orioles - baltimoresun.com 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. ESPN - Source: Palmeiro named Tejada before panel - MLB 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." Tejada, who said he received shipments of B12 from the Dominican Republic, was later implicated for steroid use in the Mitchell Report. Housto Chronicle - Miguel Tejada excerpt from Mitchell Report
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. ESPN - Congress won't charge Palmeiro with perjury - MLB
Palmeiro continues to strongly deny ever having used 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." Baltimore Sun - Palmeiro speaks 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. ESPN - Pass the B-12 A 2005 New York Times article expressed one writer's belief that Palmeiro's story could perhaps be the truth.
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."
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.
Palmeiro donated $2,000 each to the primary and general election campaigns of George W. Bush during the 2004 presidential election. He lives in Colleyville, Texas with his wife and two sons.
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