Veteran first baseman Rafael Palmeiro will launch his unlikely comeback bid with the indy ball Cleburne Railroaders, he tells Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. He’ll play there with his son, former minor-leaguer Patrick Palmeiro.
Needless to say, it had always seemed a longshot that the former star would earn a chance with an affiliated organization. He announced late last year that he was hoping to make it back to the majors for the first time since 2005 — when he was already forty years of age.
Palmeiro could still hit when last he suited up. In ’05, he turned in a .266/.339/.447 slash with 18 home runs and as many walks as strikeouts (43 apiece) in 422 plate appearances. Of course, that was 13 years ago and he was already fading from his prior levels of productivity. Other than a first, brief taste of the majors way back in 1986, Palmeiro never ended a season with an overall batting line that fell below league average. He stands as one of only five players to accumulate 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.
Those stats don’t mean as much as they might have, of course, given that Palmeiro ultimately tested positive for steroids. He has since steadfastly denied that he knowingly used steroids, though the matter has perhaps kept him from reaching the Hall of Fame.