For 20 years, Rafael Palmeiro terrorized major league pitchers. The hard-hitting left-hander from Miami by way of Cuba is one of only six players to record over 3,000 hits and 500 home runs in his career. That’s part of a resume that could make most ball players proud.
But now, at the age of 53, Palmeiro’s trying to get back to the big leagues, and he’s starting just south of Fort Worth as an infielder and designated hitter with the Cleburne Railroaders of the American Association of Independent Baseball.
“I’ve been watching my kids grow up playing baseball,” he says. “I mean that’s kind of kept me busy. I have two boys and actually one of them’s my teammate. One of them plays third base here with our team.”
Palmeiro says he lifts weights now, runs, and has a good diet – and that’s new.
“When I played, I didn’t do any of that,” he says. ”I lifted a little bit of weights in the off season, but no cardio, lots of pizza.”
Palmeiro says all retired players think they could still play, but that’s not really the case. Still, he started swinging with a purpose again.
“I went to the batting cages with my kids and from there I just kept on and on and on,” he says. “And that’s all it was.”
At the end of his first career, Palmeiro denied allegations that he used steroids, but he doesn’t expect that it will affect his future.
“I don’t know that the door is closed for me,” he says. “I think that I just need to prove that I’m worthy.”
Written by Jen Rice.