The likable, steady, viagra-touting Rafael Palmeiro, who had recently joined the 500 home runs/3000 hits club virtually assuring himself a spot in the Hall of Fame, threw all of that into question when he tested positive for steroids and was suspended for 10 games by Major League Baseball late last month.
For example, Indians beat writer Paul Hoynes has completely turned on the slugger, writing yesterday, “After telling Congress in March that he never had used steroids, baseball’s new drug net recently snagged Palmeiro with a positive test … Palmeiro’s long career has produced big stats and little in the way of sizzle. Steroids have taken care of that, and it is unlikely the heat will fade in the five-year waiting period between Palmeiro’s retirement and Hall of Fame eligibility. Was the lure of steroids worth it? Palmeiro is the only one who can weigh what has been lost or gained. As a Hall of Fame voter, I know he has lost my vote.”
Hoynes was referring to the specific anabolic steroid for which the Oriole slugger tested positive, stanozolol, which typically doesn’t provide the eye-popping physique associated with other performance drugs, but does help an athlete get stronger, build muscle mass, boost acceleration, and in particular recover faster from workouts and other physical stresses. This would exactly fit Palmeiro’s career profile: in 20 years, he never went on the disabled list. He joined Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players with 3,000 hits and 500 homers despite never finishing higher than fifth in MVP voting.
Oddly, Palmeiro chose a drug that is easily detectable, cannot be masked and lingers in the blood for months. “No tested athlete in their right mind should be using that drug,” Charles Yesalis of Pennsylvania State University told AP, who also said he was “shocked” when he heard reports that the Baltimore Orioles slugger had tested positive for the drug.
So his career is tainted, his reputation in tatters, but things could get worse for Palmeiro. Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, said on Sunday that he expects to have all of Major League Baseball’s drug testing records for the outfielder by the end of the week as the panel pursues a perjury investigation against him. Palmeiro swore under oath before the committee earlier this year that he had never taken steroids.
As much as Mark McGwire was ridiculed for refusing to discuss his own steroid use before the committee, at least he didn’t lie under oath to congress.
Perhaps Palmeiro thought both basball and the U.S. House of Representatives were kidding. Jose Canseco suddenly looks a lot less crazy, doesn’t he?