Manager Frank Robinson broke his silence about Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, who earlier this month received a 10-day suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program with a positive steroid test.
“I would [wipe out his records]. He was found to have used steroids, and he served a 10-day suspension,” said Robinson. “I was surprised and taken aback that he was using steroids, because I never thought about him being a person that might be a steroids user. I always admired him for the way he went about his work, the way he performed on the field and the way he conducted himself off the field.”
Robinson’s feelings for Palmeiro today are a complete turnaround from a few years ago. Robinson was the assistant general manager of the Orioles in 1994, when Palmeiro first signed with the team as a free agent. Before learning of Palmeiro’s suspension, Robinson often called that the best free-agent signing of all time, based on Palmeiro’s first tenure with the Orioles. Palmerio hit .293 and averaged 36 home runs and 111 RBIs from 1994 to 1998.
“I just looked at the years that he had, and I don’t see anyone that could match up with that,” said Robinson. “He had 30-something home runs every year, 100 and something RBIs, and hit about .290 or better. He had five solid years in Baltimore.”
“Where do you go back, stop and say, ‘OK, when did he started using steroids?’ To eliminate all that, and get the players’ attention, you wipe the whole thing out,” he said. “Why put the burden on baseball to try and figure out where to go, and maybe put an asterisk? Just wipe the whole thing out.”
Does anybody else find it strange that Rafael Palmeiro, who played about 155 games a year for 17 seasons, is suddenly down and out with what was initially termed a mild sprained ankle? He hasn’t played since Aug. 16, which happened to be his first game on the road, when he took all that abuse in Oakland; makes you wonder if he will be semi-dormant or wholly dormant the rest of this season. The number of days we’ve waited for Palmeiro to tell his side of the story: 24.