Rafael Palmeiro is sticking to his story that a tainted vitamin shot caused his failed drug test 5 years ago, and hopes Hall of Fame voters will overlook the mistake and honor him for his 3,020 hits and 569 homers.
A week before the Baseball Writers Association of America announces its inductees to baseball's Hall of Fame, Palmeiro told SI.com in a phone interview posted yesterday that he never used performance-enhancing drugs in his 20-year career. As he asserted in 2005 after he was suspended for failing a test, Palmeiro again insisted the anabolic steroid was in a B-12 vial given to him by Baltimore Orioles teammate Miguel Tejada.
"I was telling the truth then, and I am telling the truth now," Palmeiro said. "I don't know what else I can say. I have never taken steroids. For people who think I took steroids intentionally, I'm never going to convince them. But I hope the voters judge my career fairly and don't look at one mistake."
One of only four players in big-league history with 500 homers and 3,000 hits, Palmeiro's once certain election to the Hall is in jeopardy. Baseball voters have denied Mark McGwire, 10th on the career list with 583 homers, four times and his election seems unlikely - McGwire received only 23.7 percent of the vote last year and 75 percent is needed.
"I never played for the Hall of Fame," Palmeiro told SI.com on Tuesday. "I only played to win and have fun. But, yes, now the Hall of Fame is important to me. Why wouldn't I want to be there? It would mean more than anything to me. I hope they don't hold me out for one mistake at the end of my career."
A four-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove first baseman, perhaps the most memorable moment Palmeiro's career came when he boldly wagged his finger at Congress in March 2005, saying "I have never used steroids. Period."
That July he got his 3,000th hit, and 3 weeks later it was announced he tested positive for steroids and was suspended 10 games.
* One of Ozzie Guillen's sons is firing back at former White Sox closer Bobby Jenks for comments made about the Chicago manager. Jenks, who signed a 2-year deal with Boston last week, expressed disappointment to MLB.com that the White Sox decided not to re-sign him. He told the website he was "looking forward to playing for a manager who knows how to run a bullpen."
Oney Guillen called Jenks a "punk" in a series of Twitter posts.
In one, he wrote that Jenks should "be a man and tell the manager or the coaching staff how u feel or the organization when u were with the sox not when u leave." In another, he wrote that Jenks "cried in the managers office bc u have problems now u go and talk bad about the sox after they protected u for 7 years ungrateful."
Oney Guillen resigned from his job in the scouting department in March after the organization took exception to some of his tweets. He previously posted critical comments of White Sox general manager Ken Williams.
The White Sox distanced themselves from Oney Guillen's latest comments, saying he is "not a member of the White Sox organization, and in no way does he speak for the Chicago White Sox."
* Longtime baseball executive Bill Lajoie, whose eye for talent helped build the Detroit Tigers team that won the 1984 World Series championship, died Tuesday. He was 76. Tigers spokesman Brian Britten said the team first learned of Lajoie's death from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lajoie had been working as a special assistant to the Pirates. The Detroit News reported he died at his home near Sarasota, Fla. Britten said he couldn't confirm the location or the cause of death.