|THE NEEDLE AND THE DAMAGE DONE.|
|IN '93, REACHED 30-PLUS HRs FOR THE FIRST TIME.|
DEFINING THE PLAYER
- It was the biggest lie ever told to the American public. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman.'' Whoops, wrong fib. "I have never used steroids. Period. I don't know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never,'' so swore Rafael Palmeiro on March 17, 2005, while pointing his finger for emphasis, at the Congressional hearing about steroids in baseball. Palmeiro looked like one of the clean ones in a sea of filth, putting up Cooperstown numbers during a 19-year career: 569 homers, 1,835 RBI and 3,020 hits.
- What a difference 4 1/2 months made. It was announced on Aug. 1 that Palmeiro tested positive for stanozolol, a high-powered steroid, and was suspended. He said the drug got into his system from a tainted B12 shot given to him by Miguel Tejada. Advice to players: If a teammate comes at you with a hypodermic needle overflowing with a ''B12 cocktail,'' run. Reminder to everyone else: The urine test always trumps the eye test.
- Palmeiro was fifth in the AL MVP voting in his second go-around with the Rangers in '99, hitting a career-high 47 homers, driving in a career-high 148 runs, batting .324 and posting a 1.050 OPS. He also won his third consecutive Gold Glove and second consecutive Silver Slugger Award. The fact his season was deemed only fifth best in the league should tell you all you need to know about the Steroid Era.
FIVE FINAL FACTS
- Played collegiately at Mississippi State and became the only SEC player to win the triple crown.
- Drafted by the Cubs with the 22nd pick in '85 and debuted in Chicago the following September.
- Broke through in '88, finishing second to #77 Tony Gwynn in batting with a .307 average.
- Traded to the Rangers in a package that included #49 Mitch Williams going to the Cubs in the off-season.
- His 569 homers break down like so: 321 in 10 years with the Rangers, 223 in seven with the Orioles and 25 in three with the Cubs, where he hadn't yet "developed'' his power stroke.