There’s clearly not much cooking on the Hot Stove when Rafael Palmeiro’s comment on making a comeback gets so much attention. Former Mississippi State star Palmeiro floated the idea in a published report that he can still play at the big league level. It’s hard to take this seriously. He is 53. He last played in an MLB game 12 years ago. True, he did go 2-for-4 in one appearance for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in 2015. But it’s a long way from the Atlantic League to the major leagues. Palmeiro is in both the 500-homer and 3,000-hit clubs but not the Hall of Fame, mainly because of a failed drug test in 2005 that came not long after he defiantly wagged his finger at Congress during its inquiry into PEDs. Palmeiro fell off the Hall of Fame ballot in short order. “Maybe 12 years later, if I can come back and prove I don’t need anything as an older player with an older body, then people might think, OK, maybe he didn’t do anything intentionally,” Palmeiro told The Athletic. That sounds pretty far-fetched.
The 3,000-hit club expanded to 30 members with the addition of Ichiro Suzuki on Sunday. Rafael Palmeiro, the former Mississippi State standout, is in the club (with 3,020 hits), but no native Mississippians have reached that hallowed plateau. The closest anyone has come to date is Dave Parker, who retired in 1991 with 2,712 knocks. However, a Mississippi native was directly involved in a 3,000th hit. Vicksburg’s John Thomson yielded Rickey Henderson’s milestone hit — a double — on Oct. 7, 2001. Thomson was pitching for Colorado, Henderson batting for San Diego. Thomson won 63 games over a 10-year big league career and made a couple of rehab appearances with the Mississippi Braves (in 2005 and ’06).