On this date in Texas Rangers history, Rangers first baseman Rafael Palmeiro became the 19th player in Major League history to hit 500 career home runs.
The moment came on May 11, 2003, as Palmeiro crushed a shot off Cleveland’s Dave Elder in the seventh inning.
Palmeiro — who came to the Rangers originally in a 1988 trade with the Chicago Cubs — played more years with Texas (10) than he did with any other team. His two stints — from 1989-93 and from 1999-03 — were interrupted by five years in Baltimore. Ironically, his replacement in Texas, Will Clark, took over Palmeiro’s position in Baltimore in 1999, and the pair went to Mississippi State and were teammates.
Palmeiro hit 321 of his 585 career home runs in a Texas uniform. He hit 204 with the Orioles, and 60 with the Cubs. Palmeiro remains among the Top 15 home run hitters of all-time as of the 2021 season.
Normally, that would get a player in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. But Palmeiro’s career ended after 110 games into the 2005 season, just after he recorded his 3,000th career hit. He tested positive for an anabolic steroid shortly after hit No. 3000, blamed a teammate for passing him a tainted B-12 shot and shortly after that the Orioles told him to stay home. This was after Palmeiro pointed his finger at a Congressional committee and told them, in no uncertain terms, that he had never taken steroids.
Palmeiro not only sits outside the Hall of Fame after hitting 585 home runs and more than 3,000 hits, he played 2,831 games without playing in a World Series.
Also on this date …
May 11, 1998: Catcher Iván ‘Pudge’ Rodríguez became the sixth Rangers hitter to reach the 1,000-hit mark with the team, joining Toby Harrah, Buddy Bell, Jim Sundberg, Ruben Sierra, and Juan González.
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