Former MLB slugger Rafael Palmeiro is considering a return to the major leagues. Seriously.
The 53-year-old, who once famously said that he “never” used steroids at a Congressional hearing only to test positive for them a few months later, thinks he can definitely still play professional baseball.
“There’s no doubt in my mind I can do it,” says Palmeiro, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. “I’ve taken care of myself really well. I’ve been working out for years. Everything feels better than when I played.”
Put this into perspective: Julio Franco was the oldest positional player to regularly appear in the major leagues back in 2007 at the age of 49. Palmeiro is four years older than that.
“He is in the gym every day working out,” Palmeiro’s son, Patrick, a minor-league first baseman, said of his father. “He has less body fat than me and my brother. He sees me and my brother working hard, getting ourselves ready. He wants to try and keep up with us. He’s still motivated, somehow. I wish I had the amount of motivation he has.”
Palmeiro’s wife, Lynne, said that Palmeiro has spoken of a potential comeback in the past, but this time, he was more serious about it.
“We’ve all just kind of been, ‘Whatever.’ I think he was just saying it to say it,” said Lynne. “This time, when he came in and said it, there was a difference in his tone, everything he said. He’s in a different place mentally.”
Patrick feels his father may want to right his wrongs.
“He says he wants to do it just to prove he can out-hit us,” he said. “I think maybe he wants to come back and end his career the way he wanted it to end.”
Remember: Palmeiro’s career ended in embarrassment.
After being suspended 10 days for testing positive for steroids in August 2005, Palmeiro returned and went 2-for-26 at the plate and was then sent home by the Baltimore Orioles on Sept. 5, 2005. He has not played in the majors since.
Palmeiro played 20 seasons in his career, with 17 of those years coming in Texas and Baltimore. He hit .288 and slugged 569 home runs.