A 53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro is actually doing pretty well for independent league team

Yahoo Sports
Former <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/teams/bal" data-ylk="slk:Baltimore Orioles">Baltimore Orioles</a> first baseman Rafael Palmeiro is doing pretty well in the independent leagues at 53 years old. (AP Photo)
Former Baltimore Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro is doing pretty well in the independent leagues at 53 years old. (AP Photo)

It will come as no shock to long-time baseball fans that former Baltimore Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro can hit. For younger fans who didn’t see him play, hit Baseball-Reference page speaks loudly.

Palmeiro hit .288/.371/.515, with 569 home runs, over 20 years in the majors — though some of that may have been aided by performance-enhancing drugs. Like most players, he saw his stats decline as he approached 40.

Now, at 53, Palmeiro is showing he still has the same skills that made him a four-time All-Star in the majors.

Rafael Palmeiro is still hitting at 53 years old

Palmeiro is in the midst of a comeback with the Cleburne Railroaders after failing to receive a contract from a Major League Baseball team during the offseason. Through 23 games, Palmeiro’s numbers look pretty good. He’s hitting .267/.382/.416, with three home runs. He’s struck out 18 times, but has 14 walks. Remember, we’re talking about a 53-year-old man here.

What does it mean for Palmeiro’s chances at a major-league comeback?

Not much. While Palmeiro’s performance is impressive, the independent leagues are a step down from minor-league competition. While it’s true that some players have successfully made the jump, like David Peralta of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Palmeiro doesn’t have youth on his side. He’s 53, and left baseball in shame after returning from a PED suspension. Even if public opinion on players from Palmeiro’s era has improved, it’s tough to see a team give him a real shot.

What’s next for Rafael Palmeiro?

Unless an MLB team shocks the world and picks him up, Palmeiro will likely play out the rest of the year with the Railroaders. If he’s serious about an MLB comeback, maybe he can try to workout for teams again in the offseason. By then, though, he would be a year older, making it even more unlikely for a team to give him another chance.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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