Rafael Palmeiro Continues to Insist He Never Took Steroids
"I was telling the truth then, and I am telling the truth now,'' Palmeiro told SI.com this week. "I don't know what else I can say. I have never taken steroids. For people who think I took steroids intentionally, I'm never going to convince them. But I hope the voters judge my career fairly and don't look at one mistake.''
The mistake in question was that positive test in 2005, Palmeiro's final year as a player. Now, as then, he says the test was caused by a tainted vial of vitamin B-12 given to him by Orioles teammate Miguel Tejada. Palmeiro was suspended 10 games for the positive test, which came mere months after he testified before Congress that he had never used steroids.
Palmeiro's suspension came weeks after he collected his 3,000th hit, and the clouds of suspicion that continue to hover around him could leave him as one of two players to have reached that plateau but not make the cut for the Hall of Fame. Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader banned for gambling on baseball as a manager, is the other.
Palmeiro can hold out hope that perceptions change over time, but his chances of making the Hall in the near future appear slim.
"I never played for the Hall of Fame," Palmeiro told SI.com. "I only played to win and have fun. But, yes, now the Hall of Fame is important to me. Why wouldn't I want to be there? It would mean more than anything to me. I hope they don't hold me out for one mistake at the end of my career.''