Despite baseball not being as active as other professional sports, it is extremely rare for players to have the skills to continue to contribute on the field past the age of 40. Rafael Palmeiro doesn’t care about age and is determined to make an MLB comeback at the ripe old age of 53. Despite not playing professional baseball in nearly 20 years, the former Baltimore Orioles slugger is confident that he can make a Major League Baseball team’s roster. “If I go to spring training with a legitimate chance to make the team, I won’t have to go to the minors,” Palmeiro said.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, reported that Palmeiro wants to make a return to the big leagues despite not playing since 2005. “There’s no doubt in my mind I can do it,” Palmeiro told Rosenthal. “I’ve taken care of myself really well. I’ve been working out for years. Everything feels better than when I played.”
One of the things that could be fueling Palmeiro’s possible comeback is his unceremonious departure from the game. Palmeiro tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2005 and he was suspended by the MLB. The Orioles then released Palmerio and he never played another MLB game again. The suspension came a year after he vehemently denied using steroid during a congressional hearing. Palmeiro, who is one of only five players in MLB history with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, had his legacy severely tarnished.
Of Palmeiro’s possible comeback, an anonymous MLB general manager said, “he would need to dominate in an independent or overseas league for a team to even consider him.” While it is easier for pitchers to stay in the league far past their primes, especially if they are armed with a knuckleball. But it’s a much different story for positional players. Playing regularly over a 162-game while traveling all over the country can take its toll. Since 1980 there have only been five positional players to play in the MLB: Minnie Miñoso (56), Julio Franco (49), Pete Rose (45), Carlton Fisk (45), and Omar Vizquel (45).[TheAthletic]
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