Rafael Palmeiro: Hall of Famer?

Before Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for steroids, he was on his way to Cooperstown. Never a standout player, Palmeiro still accumulated career numbers that were hard to ignore.

Over 500 home runs and 3,000 hits. A distinction only three other men in major league history can lay claim to.

Raffy had a career of nonchalant consistency, hitting for power and average. The limelight went to others, players with bigger egos, bigger personalities, and bigger single-season numbers. Players like Jose Canseco.

What those other players didn't have, besides one of the best mustaches around, was the longevity of the man that made productivity a perennial staple.

As it turns out, at least one of those other players had what Rafael Palmeiro is now desperately trying to look for — the truth.

After having sat in front of Congress, and swearing under oath that he had never taken steroids in his life, Rafael Palmeiro is now the biggest name in baseball to test positive under MLB's new drug testing policy.

Besides the inevitable beating he will take in the court of public opinion, Palmeiro may now also be on the hook for a much worse beating in a much more serious court should perjury charges be pursued.

If you think the public is unforgiving, just try Congress.

Raffy, in comments made to the media after his return from his 10-day suspension, says that he has an explanation for the positive test. This information, of course, can't be divulged until a later time because of the aforementioned legal problems.

Unfortunately for Raffy, regardless of whether the explanation is plausible or true, every day that goes by without the public hearing his side of the story means another day when his credibility continues down the path of no return.

Who knows, maybe Viagra has some side effects and hidden ingredients that we don't know about yet.

The time will come when Palmeiro's name will appear on a Hall of Fame ballot, and there is little to no chance that he will ever garner enough votes to enter the shrine.

Sure, there are cheaters in the Hall of Fame, from players that used corked bats to players that doctored the ball with spit and other foreign objects, but steroids is a whole other story. Sportswriters voting for the Hall have the obligation to use all the information in front of them when making their decisions.

The numbers may say one thing, but the chemicals say another.

The fact that "cheaters" are already in the Hall doesn't give them the right to ignore evidence that a large percentage of Palmeiro's numbers may have come from illegal enhancers.

If his explanation for this situation is that he was taking a supplement of some sort and was unaware that it contained a banned substance, 1) that explanation is becoming less believable by the day, 2) it's the player's responsibility to know what is going into their bodies, and 3) anything coming from the mouth of Palmeiro lacks a certain degree of truth these days.

Mustache Hall of Fame: Yay.

Baseball Hall of Fame: Nay.

Comments and Conversation

August 15, 2005

Jacob P. Litwicki:

I fail to see how corking your bat is “different” than using steroids in regards to its outlook on the cheating spectrum. Cheating is cheating, regardless of the manifestation of it. Cheaters are scumbags, and a disgrace to their endeavor, no matter what it is, and corking your bat is no less pathetic than taking steroids to enhance your performance.

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