The Athletic Reporter
September 12, 2005 Sports News the Way You Want It. Completely Made Up. Issue 127
 
Rafael Palmeiro Finally Getting National Media Coverage
Originally posted 8/8/2005

Above: a then relatively unknown Rafael Palmeiro talks to Congress in March
BALTIMORE - Orioles slugger Rafael Palmeiro, never a household name despite years of Hall of Fame-caliber production and consistency, finally received long-overdue national media coverage this week. Palmeiro, who at a congressional hearing in March vehemently denied ever having used steroids, made front-page news by becoming the first major star to be caught violating baseball's new steroid policy.

"I've been saying all along that Raffy deserved that national spotlight," said Baltimore Sun columnist John Eisenberg. "Finally, everybody's talking about him. And if anybody deserves that right now, it's him."

Palmeiro ensured that his story wouldn't escape national notice by ridiculously claiming that he had never knowingly taken steroids, and that he had no knowledge of how steroids had gotten into his system.

"It must have been something I ate or drank," Palmeiro said. "Are there steroids in Mountain Dew?"

Not only have the number of news stories, editorials and late-night monologue jokes about the previously seldom-talked-about Palmeiro skyrocketed in the last few days, but a lively debate has also sprung up about his chances of getting into the Hall of Fame once he retires.

"There are a bunch of issues we've got to consider now," said ESPN's Peter Gammons, himself inducted into the Hall of Fame as a sportswriter this year. "Palmeiro was never the best player at his position or the best player in his league, but most people would have said that reaching the 3,000 hit-500 home run milestone would have made him an automatic Hall of Famer. Now, you've got to wonder how good he would have been if he'd played without steroids. Would he have been any better than, say, Mark Grace? Also, what if guys like Andre Dawson or Jim Rice had taken steroids during their careers? How many homers would a juiced-up Andre Dawson have hit? 1,000?"

Palmeiro, who hit 95 home runs in his first seven big league seasons, has hit 474 in the 13 years since.

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