Rafael Palmeiro is a laughing stock these days, but maybe he was actually telling the truth about his failed PED test after all.
Over his 19 year career, Rafael Palmeiro was a steady player. He was never a superstar, considered a very good first baseman and designated hitter. A four time All-Star and three time Gold Glove winner, he put together an impressive statistical career when he retired – 3020 hits, 569 homers, 1835 RBI, and a lifetime .288/.371/.515 batting line.
With that stat line, Palmeiro was considered to be an eventual Hall of Famer. While he was regarded as more of a compiler than a star, the same argument was made regarding players such as Don Sutton and Bert Blyleven, both of whom eventually were inducted into Cooperstown.
The problem is that Palmeiro is essentially a laughingstock. One of the multitude of players that Jose Canseco called out as using PEDs, Palmeiro is remembered for his emphatic finger pointing and denial before Congress. That moment was put to a laughtrack the moment he was announced as failing a PED test in 2005, which basically ended his career.
Palmeiro’s explanation for the failed test was laughable as well. He claimed it was due to a shot he received from teammate Miguel Tejada, who had told him that it was a Vitamin B-12 injection. That explanation was also laughed off, as it seemed that Palmeiro was trying to shift the blame elsewhere.
In retrospect, there may have been something to Palmeiro’s assertations. Tejada was eventually sentenced to probation and community service after lying to Congress about his own PED use after former teammate Adam Piatt confessed that the two had discussed steroids. Tejada’s son also tested positive for PEDs prior to signing with the White Sox as an amateur free agent, with the positive test leading to the offer being rescinded.
At this point, it may be too late for Palmeiro. He lasted for only four years on the Hall of Fame ballot, never getting more than 12.4% of the vote. While his career will forever be tarnished by that suspension, it is also distinctly possible that he was telling the truth – that he never knowingly took PEDs, and that the positive test was due to an injection received from Tejada. In that case, he would simply be guilty of incredible stupidity.
Rafael Palmeiro may have actually been telling the truth. Even if he was, it is a hollow victory at this point.