At the prime age of 53, Rafael Palmeiro is ready for a comeback. Maybe you recall the tweet he posted a few weeks back on Jan 5. “Good to be back in the cage again. The comeback is real,” he wrote. It was not a joke, and I definitely did not cringe. It was very earnest and from someone who has obviously never learned the golden rule of never tweet. It was all fun and games until there was no longer plausible denial that he didn’t just learn what trolling was from a teenage nephew.
His swing looks like you’d expect: One that is powered alone by the muscle memory that comes with 19 years in the big leagues but is weighed down by at least 50 pounds of time. Palmeiro accumulated exactly 70.00 fWAR in his career, enough to put him closer to the top of leaderboards than most other players. He played with the Cubs, then the Rangers, then the Orioles, then the Rangers, then the Orioles -- obviously no stranger to going back to where he’s been. His worth was in his swing, as is the case with many who are accused of using PEDs.
He says he regrets his infamous indignant testimony he gave to Congress, fervently claiming his innocence at the advice of counsel. He tested positive for PEDs weeks later. I’m not here to pass judgment on what impact that should have on his, uh, comeback. I’m just… kind of wondering what he’s doing.
The thing is, though, that Palmeiro wouldn’t even be the oldest to touch the Major League level if by the grace of Clayton Kershaw he were to defy all odds. He’d fall on the list of oldest position players at only fifth. That list is topped by 58-year-old Charley O’Leary, whose FanGraphs page at first glance makes his story look similar to Palmeiro’s. O’Leary played for the Detroit Tigers from 1904 to 1914 but has one lone plate appearance to his career in 1934 with the St. Louis Browns. But O’Leary didn’t come back to relive his glory days to try to shake out a midlife crisis. He was the Browns’ coach and only stepped in in a pinch.
Essentially, the question is why. And also, please stop. I don’t know. Maybe the Mets will sign him.
- You have gone too far this time, baseball. You can take our trades. You can take our free agent signings. But you will never take The One True Hit King. Long may he reign.
- Sound the Tebow sirens, y’all. He’s got a spring training invite, and he’s not afraid to use it.
- This explainer on collusion was featured in Say Hey, Baseball on Friday, but in case you missed it, click here.
- Not a great year for the Braves’ minor league system. This time, a player was given a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a “drug of abuse.”
- Which free agents fit best in the Giants’ rotation? It’s time for a good old-fashioned ranking.
- The rumor mill is saying Manny Machado to Cleveland . This might be enough to get me to move from lying face down on the ground like I’ve been since two weeks after the Ohtani signing. Probably not, though.
- This is technically a trade, I guess.