- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Apparently 500 home runs and 3,000 hits weren’t enough for Rafael Palmeiro.

The 54-year-old slugger, who spent most of his major-league career with the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles, has signed a new contract with an independent minor-league club.

According to the Dallas News, Palmeiro has signed a contract to play with independent Cleburne Railroaders team.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Palmeiro told the News in a text message. “Nobody gave me a chance to go to spring training, so I will just take this path.”

The Railroaders, who play just south of the Dallas area, open their season May 18 at home against the Winnipeg Goldeyes, the defending champions of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.

Palmeiro will have one loyal teammate with the Railroaders — his oldest son, Patrick. Another son, Preston, plays for the Frederick Keys in the High-A Carolina League.

The elder Palmeiro had some singular stats in his major-league career — only five players have both 500 homers and 3,000 hits; and either is usually enough to put a player in the Hall of Fame. But he is not in Cooperstown because he achieved those numbers during the “steroid era.”

During a March 2005 congressional hearing, after having been identified as a steroid user by ex-teammate Jose Canseco, he said under oath by waving his finger and saying “Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.”

That August, he was suspended 10 games for using a banned steroid, which he said was unintentional.

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