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December 30, 2010

Rafael Palmeiro is Sticking to His Story

We're less than a week out from the 2011 Hall of Fame class being announced and Rafael Palmeiro is still sticking to the same "tainted vitamin shot" story he tried selling after he was suspended for failing a steroid test more than five years ago.

"I was telling the truth then, and I am telling the truth now," Palmeiro said in an interview with "I don't know what else I can say. I have never taken steroids. For people who think I took steroids intentionally, I'm never going to convince them. But I hope the voters judge my career fairly and don't look at one mistake."

Following the 2004 season, Palmeiro appeared to be a lock for Cooperstown with 551 home runs, 1775 RBI and a mere 78 hits shy of 3000.

Thing is...he probably wishes now that he would have hung it up instead of returning for the rollercoaster ride that was 2005.

Prior to his 19th Major League season, Palmeiro was called out by former teammate Jose Canseco in his best seller Juiced. That was followed up by that pesky Congressional hearing in which the four-time All-Star (now) infamously proclaimed that he had "never used steroids, period".

In July, Palmeiro joined Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players in big league history with 500 homers and 3000 hits, but less than three weeks later, the potential Hall of Fame train seemingly derailed when Palmeiro tested positive positive for steroids.

After returning from his ten day suspension, he managed a paltry two hits in 26 at bats and couldn't find anyone to bid on his services for 2006.

It is uncertain why Palmeiro is choosing now to, again, proclaim his innocence since the minds of the BBWAA have probably already been made, but it will be interesting to see how he fares next week when the votes are announced.

So, without completely re-hashing the story of fellow (alledged) steroid user Mark McGwire, it warrants mentioning that Hall of Fame voters have denied the former slugger entrance in Cooperstown four times. 

Last year, McGwire received only 23.7 percent of the vote (75 percent is needed for enshrinement) and, frankly, early indications are that Palmeiro probably won't do much better.

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