Rafael Palmeiro has signed a professional baseball contract at 53-years-old.
Let me repeat that.
Rafael Palmeiro, 1 of 32 people in Major League Baseball history to obtain 3,000 hits, has signed a professional baseball contract at 53-years-old.
The Dallas Morning News reported Tuesday that the former MLB ballplayer has signed a contract to play with the Cleburne Railroaders, an independent team that plays in the American Association. While it is not The Show that he once knew, it is still professional baseball.
But why did he decide to go back?
Aside from the fact that his son, who is 27-years-old, plays for the club as well, allowing father and son Patrick to play together, there seems to be another issue. He never really received a ‘proper’ conclusion to his career.
Palmeiro last stepped foot on a Major League Baseball field as a player in 2005 when he was on the Baltimore Orioles’ roster. During this season he tested positive for PEDs and was suspended for 10 games. Keep in mind that during 2005, PED punishments were simply a slap on the wrist and a strongly worded letter. After his suspension came to a conclusion, he appeared in only 7 games before he was stricken with injury. Those two events happening together were enough to remove him from the lineup permanently, and forced the slugger to hang up his cleats for good.
In December, Palmeiro released a video of him in a batting cage where, admittedly, he was making solid contact and showing he could still hit the fastball. Despite his efforts and public claim that he wanted to play ball again, zero MLB teams showed interest in him. So the question remains: Could he one day be on a Major League roster again? The answer is simple: No.
Unless he goes into this independent league and puts up a .500 batting average with 40+ home runs, there just is not a place on a Major League, or even Minor League, roster for a 53-year-old. Especially with the competitive nature of baseball today where Major League rosters have a surplus of talent they hardly know what to do with at times.
While the future is always un-predictable and you never know what could happen, this seems like it is nothing more than a good story to sell tickets.
Picture Credit: TheDailyBeast.Com; FoxSports.Com;