Rafael Palmeiro spent just seven years in a Baltimore Orioles uniform but he made them count, helping lead the Orioles to two straight American League Championship Series appearances
Rafael Palmeiro split his career between the Orioles and the Texas Rangers, going back and forth between the two teams for the final 17 years of his career. Seven of those years were spent in Baltimore, five of which were during Palmeiro’s peak.
From the strike-shortened 1994 season through 1998, Palmeiro raked for the Orioles; during those five seasons, he hit .292/.371/.545 with 182 home-runs. He would play in exactly 1,000 games with the Orioles and post an .886 OPS.
In ’96, Palmeiro helped the Orioles into the ALCS for the first time since their 1983 World Series title. The Orioles would return to the ALCS in ’97, however they never reached the World Series during the run. 1983 remains the last World Series appearance for the Orioles.
Starting in 1995, Palmeiro started his streak of nine straight seasons with at least 38 home-runs, however he never led the league during the stretch. He remains the most accomplished home run hitter in MLB history who never led the league in the category.
Palmeiro finished his career with 223 homers in an Orioles uniform, but his career mark of 569 is the 13th most all-time, and he’s one of six players who are in both the 500 homer club and the 3,000 hit club.
In 2005, Palmeiro tested positive for the anabolic-steroid Stanozolol and the memory of his career has been tarnished by it. I won’t make this a forum on steroid use, but I’ll say this: first, steroids do not make you good at baseball, and second, MLB didn’t care about steroids in the 1990’s, why should you?
While Palmeiro may be remembered by some for his positive steroid test in ’05, we’re just appreciating what he did for the franchise.