By Ray Schulte, SchulteAuctions.com
Rafael Palmeiro was eligible to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010. As a member of the 500 home run club and 3,000 hit club, Palmeiro was considered a lock for a plaque in Cooperstown until Aug. 1, 2005. On that date, Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days after testing positive for steroids. What compounded the situation was Palmeiro had appeared before a Congressional hearing six months earlier and denied ever using steroids.
Palmeiro hasn't been back to Baltimore since the 2005 baseball season. Many friends, former teammates, fans and collectors haven't seen him in years. So why would he come back now?
Earlier during the year, MAB Celebrity Services, a New Jersey autograph promoter, had negotiated a signature appearance with Palmeiro at the 2011 National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago. Because Palmeiro played in Chicago, the appearance made sense. The fans and collectors came out to meet and/or reunite with the former Cub and get his autograph.
After that success, MAB felt it might be a good opportunity to bring Palmeiro to Baltimore, for a public signature appearance at the Charm City Heroes 2 show. For weeks, Charm City Heroes 2 promoters advertised that Palmeiro would be making a rare signing appearance on Oct. 2 at the Pikesville Hilton. Would fans and collectors welcome the former Oriole with open arms or would they boycott the appearance because of his testing positive for steroids and the way the Congressional hearing had played out?
Unfortunately, we couldn't make a determination from this appearance. Palmeiro was scheduled to fly into Baltimore from and Dallas return there the same day. His flight was delayed in Dallas for several hours because of mechanical problems. His flight landed at BWI later in the afternoon but his public signing time had to be pushed back much later during the day. Many fans and collectors opted to leave rather than wait, because there was no guarantee the former Gold Glove first baseman was going to secure another flight to Baltimore at all that day.
While Palmeiro did come and fulfill his appearance commitment, it was disappointing not to see whether the majority of fans and collectors would embrace Palmeiro. Kevin Cowherd, from The Baltimore Sun, interviewed Palmeiro in the back room after the public signing. After listening to Palmeiro continue to deny he had used steroids, I was disappointed many others who care about him did not have the opportunity to say hello and get acquainted again.
Palmeiro was eligible to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010, but his vote came up short. Only 11 percent of the Baseball Writers Association of America voted for him. He needed 75 percent of their votes to be inducted. It would seem Palmeiro has a lot of work to do to sway the opinions of baseball writers, fans and collectors. It was a shame he couldn't have connected with some of them Oct. 2 in Baltimore.
KidsPeace Trick or Trot 5K Race
KidsPeace representatives Buck and Angela Showalter invite you to participate in a 5K Run and Halloween Fun Run Oct. 29, 2011, throughout the neighborhood of Canton and Patterson Park, ending in O'Donnell Square. Visit KidsPeace.org for race information.
Schulte Auctions will be auctioning off the uniform jerseys both Showalters wore during the filming of the KidsPeace 30-second PSA to promote the race. Visit SchulteAuctions.com for more information on how you can win these unique signed jerseys. All proceeds benefit KidsPeace.
Follow Ray @ twitter.com/SchulteSports and e-mail him at Ray@SchulteSports.com.
Issue 166: October 2011