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.