Rafael Palmeiro

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Rafael Palmeiro

Rafael Palmeiro

Position First Base/Designated Hitter
Team Baltimore Orioles
Years of experience 19 years
Age 41
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight 215 lb (98 kg)
Bats Left
Throws Left
College Mississippi State University
2005 salary $3,000,000
Place of birth Havana, Cuba
Selection Amateur draft, 1985
Drafted by Chicago Cubs
Major League debut September 8, 1986

Rafael Palmeiro Corrales (born September 24, 1964 in Havana, Cuba) is a Major League Baseball player, with a career spanning almost 20 years, and thus far the most prominent major leaguer to test positive for steroids under Major League Baseball's testing program.

Palmeiro holds the distinction of playing in the most Major League Baseball games (2,831 through 2005) without ever reaching the World Series. Palmeiro also holds the distinction of being number 9 on the all time home run leaders list with 569 (through 2005) and is third amongst active players, behind former teammate Sammy Sosa and San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds. He also has 3,020 career hits through 2005, making him only the fourth major leaguer (after Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray) with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs in a career.


After an All-American career at Mississippi State University, Palmeiro debuted September 8, 1986 with the Chicago Cubs, and played with the Cubs through 1988. He has had two stints with the Texas Rangers (1989-1993 and 1999-2003). He has also had two stints with the Baltimore Orioles (1994-1998 and 2004-2005).

A four-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove Award winner at first base, Palmeiro became the 19th player (and the second Hispanic, after Sammy Sosa) to reach the 500-home run plateau on May 12, 2003. He also became the first player in history to have led his league in singles one year (136 in 1990) and hit 500 home runs in his career. He joined the 500 home run club on May 11 2003 on a full-count pitch from Cleveland right-hander David Elder. Palmeiro hit his 3,000th career hit (a double) off Joel Pineiro of the Seattle Mariners on July 15, 2005. He, along with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray are the only players to hit 500 home runs and 3,000 hits.

Palmeiro is an anomaly in his sport because he did not hit his stride until after the age of 30, when he began a streak of hitting 30-plus home runs and batting in 100-plus runs nine seasons in a row (1995-2003). Some attribute this to his alleged steroid use during the 1990's (see below).

After the tumultuous 2005 season, the Orioles announced they would not re-sign Palmeiro. He filed for free agency on October 29, 2005, indicating he will attempt to play his 20th season in baseball.


Former Rangers teammate José Canseco identified Palmeiro as a fellow steroid user in his 2005 book, Juiced, and claimed he personally injected Palmeiro with steroids. On March 17, 2005, Palmeiro appeared at a Congressional hearing on the subject of steroids in baseball and vehemently denied ever using steroids under oath, wagging his finger and stating:

"Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period."

On August 1, 2005, Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days after testing positive for steroids, an event that may hurt his chances at eventual induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In a public statement, Palmeiro disclosed that an appeal of the suspension has already been denied. At the same time, he stated:

"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."

Both the Washington Post and New York Daily News reported that the steroid detected in Palmeiro's system was a "serious" one. The New York Times later reported that Palmeiro had tested positive for the potent anabolic steroid stanozolol, the same substance Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson of Canada took in 1988 when he was stripped of the gold medal at the Seoul Summer Olympics. [1]. Palmeiro returned to Camden Yards following his 10-day suspension on August 11, 2005, although he did not play in the lineup until August 14, which coincidentally was the date that had been planned as "Rafael Palmeiro Appreciation Day" in celebration of his 500-home run, 3,000-hit milestone, only to be canceled after the positive test results were discovered.

On August 19, 2005, ESPN reported that, contrary to Palmeiro's public statements following his suspension, he never offered an explanation during his appeal to MLB's arbitration panel as to how the steroid entered his system. [2]

On August 30, 2005, sportsillustrated.com reported that Palmeiro inserted earplugs in his ears to drown out the loud boos of the fans at the game against the Toronto Blue Jays. He even added tape to one of the earplugs to further drown out the boos. [3]

On September 22, 2005, ESPN 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 vitamin B12. [4]

On November 10, 2005, ESPN reported that the House Government Reform Committee would not seek perjury charges against Palmeiro based on his testimony of August 1. [5]

Palmeiro is the most prominent player caught so far under Major League Baseball's steroid policy.


  • He has the greatest number of career home runs for a player who never led his league in that category.
  • His at-bat music is Tupac Shakur's "California Love".
  • Palmeiro appears in Viagra commercials. Palmeiro's agent initially stated publicly that Palmeiro did not personally use Viagra, but Palmeiro later stated he did indeed use Viagra in addition to endorsing it.
  • His cousin Orlando Palmeiro is also a Major League player, currently with the Houston Astros.

External links