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Rafael Palmeiro: 3000 hits was “a nightmare”

Oct 4, 2011, 11:04 AM EDT

Palmeiro Orioles

We hear from Rafael Palmeiro, and others in his particular place in baseball history, once or twice a year. Usually around Hall of Fame vote time in the winter and then around the time of the inductions in the summer.  They’re asked how he feels to be on the outside looking in because of their association with performance enhancing drugs, whether that association is dubious or otherwise.

They give a range of quotes, usually centering on the idea that the Hall of Fame is out of their hands and that they’re just living life.  As more players whose prime occurred in the 1990s join their ranks we’re likely to hear different variations on those themes, but the general template will be the same.

Which makes Kevin Cowherd’s story about Rafael Palmeiro in the Baltimore Sun interesting to me. A little more time to spread out and get Palmeiro taking. Saying stuff like this:

“You know that 3,000th hit, going through that was a nightmare,” Palmeiro said now, signing baseballs in a side room at the Hilton. “‘Cause I was going through the issues I was having with the commissioner’s office (with his failed steroid test). I don’t look back on 3,000 hits as a celebration. I look back on that as a nightmare.”

He still maintains that he didn’t knowingly take steroids and that, rather, it was a tainted B-12 shot.  Not that it matters much. Given that Jeff Bagwell is being blackballed from the Hall of Fame with no evidence of PED use against him whatsoever, Palmeiro’s failed test will always keep him out whether he was aware of what he was taking or not.

  1. halladaysbiceps - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    The only thing that was “harder” for Palmiero than 3000 hits was when he was doing Viagra commercials.

  2. theonlynolan - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    Seems like the baseball hall of fame will be on the brink of irrelevancy in a few years. The best thing that Cooperstown and MLB can do is get together on this and advise the writers to vote for the best players of this “tainted” era regardless of steroid usage or suspicion of usage. Put a sign in the hall acknowledging that steroid abuse was a problem and let fans of the game decide who to celebrate. A hall of fame missing arguably the best pitcher and hitter ever to play the sport is incomplete at best and completely irrelevant at worst.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 4, 2011 at 12:02 PM

      Agreed. It’s ridiculous to think that in 20 years, when I take my grandson to the Hall, it may not have Bonds, Clemens, and many other deserving players of this era.

    • rips08 - Oct 4, 2011 at 12:10 PM

      Too bad you aren’t a baseball writer that gets to vote on that. They are all still too busy pretending they are shocked at all the steroids in baseball even though they covered it everyday and it was obvious. I think most fans are over this even if they cared about steroids in baseball to begin with.

    • acerob2002 - Oct 4, 2011 at 12:34 PM

      I don’t understand why baseball writers should even have a say in who gets into the hall of fame. I mean what have they done to have earned that right?

      • theonlynolan - Oct 4, 2011 at 1:02 PM

        Well, someone has to vote and the players haven’t elected anyone in years. Not only that but in 1936 there were no players in the HOF to vote so the precedent was set. The failure lies with the hall of fame who haven’t addressed the problem and left the writers to sort it out with no clear directions.

  3. Detroit Michael - Oct 4, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    It does seem reasonable to me for the baseball writers to distinguish eventually between Palmerio and Manny Ramirez, who failed MLB-sponsored tests for performance-enhancing drugs, and guys who appear to have taken steroids when there was no attempt at enforcing a steroids ban. Granted, the writers don’t seem to be making that distinction yet, but I wouldn’t compared Palmeiro to Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, etc.

    Also, Craig, I would not be so fast to say that Palmeiro will always be kept out of the Hall of Fame. Look how long it took Bid McPhee to be inducted.

  4. kirkdouglasblog - Oct 5, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    Hey Detroit Michael, you said;

    “…I would not be so fast to say that Palmeiro will always be kept out of the Hall of Fame.”

    I’m afraid I must respectfully & regretfully disagree with your opinion that Palmeiro might one day be HOF inducted. And please, consider my inclusion of the word “regretful”, because I think he belongs in it. Hands-down first ballot too.

    Sadly, even before the congressional hearing and the now infamous finger wagging denial of steroid use, there was article after article written over the years that questioned Palmeiro’s HOF qualifications. The writers seemed biased and stacked against him, even as his career numbers grew to be incredible and nearing top-10 all-time status, in numerous statistical categories.

    Writers would claim “in Texas, he is/was overshadowed by Pudge, Juan Gonzolez (a joke), Nolan Ryan”, etc, “is too quiet in the clubhouse therefore not a great “let’s get-em fired-up” team leader.” In Baltimore it was, “overshadowed by Cal Ripkin, Jr.”, and the same “too quiet a team leader”, he’s never been “T-H-E GUY” thing. Heck, there were even ESPN talk show short-segments on this topic of “is Palmeiro HOF worthy” garbage.

    I witnessed these articles and stories coming year-after-year, even as Palmeiro’s career stats began to pile-up to incredible heights, and he had a LOT left in the tank. The writer’s almost seemed to dread that Palmeriro’s number COULDN’T be ignored, and NEVER mentioned he was a clean-cut, low-key, stay-out-of–trouble, lead-by-quiet-example, play-everyday, non-brash, humble professional in every-aspect player.

    Then came the positive steroid test results. No matter that Palmeiro had NEVER been in, or given baseball any trouble by making outlandish comments or belittling other players. Benefit of the doubt was never given this quiet professional, who never showed nothing but being consistently great, year-after-year, for so long.

    He belongs in, and I think this man has been rail-roaded by the media, and worse, black-balled by his fellow players via their union for blowing the whistle on the TRUTH of Miguel Tejada, of whom later down the road, PROVED Palmeiro’s claims to be 100% accurate.

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