Famous Baseball Players
Rafael Palmeiro Corrales (born September 24, 1964 in Havana, Cuba) is a Major League Baseball player with a career spanning 20 years, 1986 to 2005. Though technically not retired, Palmeiro has not played since 2005.
Palmeiro was an All-American at Mississippi State University before being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1985. His major league debut came on September 8, 1986 with the Cubs. He played three seasons with the Cubs (1986-1988), ten seasons with the Texas Rangers (1989-1993, 1999-2003), and 7 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles (1994-1998, 2004-2005). He was named to the All-Star Team four times, and won the Gold Glove three times. He is a member of the exclusive 500 home run club and the 3000 hit club and is only the fourth player in history to be a member of both. He ranks ninth in history with 569 home runs. He is thus far the most prominent baseball player to test positive for steriod use.
Palmeiro's cousin, Orlando Palmeiro, is an outfielder with the Houston Astros.
Palmeiro debuted on September 8, 1986 in a game between the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field, as a left fielder. During his tenure with the Cubs, he normally played left field, though occasionally he would play other outfield positions or first base. Palmeiro was the runner up to National League batting champion Tony Gwynn in 1988 with a .307 batting average, only six points below Gwynn's. After the 1988 season, Palmeiro was traded by the Cubs to the Texas Rangers along with Jamie Moyer and Drew Hall in exchange for Mitch Williams, Paul Kilgus, Steve Wilson, Curt Wilkerson, Luis Benitez, and Pablo Delgado.
Upon moving to the American League, Palmeiro was primarily used as a first baseman or designated hitter. Palmeiro blossomed as a hitter while with the Rangers, leading the league in hits in 1990 and doubles in 1991. In 1990, he was third in the American League in batting.
Prior to Palmeiro's 1995 season, he had hit more than thirty home runs only once (37 in 1993. Starting in 1995, Palmeiro began a streak of 38+ home run years that continued through the 2003 season. He hit 373 home runs during this nine-season span, while also driving in over 100 runs in each of these seasons, and is the only player in history to hit more than 35 home runs and drive in 100 runs in nine straight seasons (Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, and Sammy Sosa all did this for seven seasons). However, Palmeiro never led the league in home runs, and is history's most prolific home run hitter to have never won the home run crown.
On May 11, 2003, Palmeiro hit his 500th home run off of David Elder in a game against the Cleveland Indians. Two years later, Palmeiro joined Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray as the only players in major league history to hit 3,000 hits and 500 home runs when he got his 3,000th base hit off of Joel Pineiro during a game against the Seattle Mariners. Because most of Palmeiro's home runs came with the Rangers and Orioles, he is one of only four players in history to hit over 200 home runs for two different clubs.
Palmeiro has played in 2,831 major league games, the most by any player who has never played in the World Series. His 1999 Gold Glove Award is regarded by many as an undeserved fiasco, because he won the award despite playing only 28 games at first base that season. He played most of his games that year as a designated hitter.
Palmeiro filed for free agency on October 29, 2005, indicating he would attempt to play his 20th season in baseball. As of November 2006, he has not signed or played with any team since then, meaning that he is in de facto retirement.