American Association Daily provides insights and features on the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions going on with teams around the league. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier discusses the return of Rafael Palmeiro to the diamond, joining son Patrick with the Cleburne Railroaders this season.
Railroaders Add Rafael Palmeiro
In a move that is sure to add a lot of buzz around the team this season, the Cleburne Railroaders will hold a news conference today to officially announce the signing of baseball legend Rafael Palmeiro. His son, Patrick, will also be joining the team in a move that should help to make this arguably the most exciting season in American Association history.
A Not So Unexpected Move
While the move is a stunner, it is really not much of a shock. Rafael Palmeiro had expressed interest in returning to the diamond earlier this year, in hopes of continuing one of the most successful careers in baseball history.
Palmeiro, 53, is one of just five players in the history of the game to record both 500 homers and 3,000 hits, and should bring an enormous amount of pop to the Railroaders lineup. Plus, it should attract a lot of fans to the second year club.
It’s the Father and the Son
Joining Rafael Palmeiro will be son Patrick, who is no stranger to independent baseball. The younger Palmeiro began his career with the Chicago White Sox organization. In 2012, he started in rookie ball before reaching Mid-A Kannapolis in 2013.
In 2015, Patrick signed with Sugar Land (Atlantic League), where he spent two seasons. That included a 2015 contest where both the father and the son donned the Skeeters uniform during a game. Last season, he played in 11o games for Southern Maryland, where Palmeiro hit .236 with 36 runs scored, 11 homers, and 49 RBI.
Not Just for Show
A lot may view this as a publicity stunt of some kind, but Rafael Palmeiro is not joining Cleburne to sell tickets. The legend has longed to return to the game to be given a second chance at a Hall of Fame induction.
This should make it clear to the skeptics that if he did not have what it took he would not be playing. Palmeiro likely sees this as a potential stepping stone that could lead him to a return to affiliate ball, and so he should have a huge impact on this Railroaders lineup. Add in the fact that Patrick has some pop in this bat and the two could easily combine for 30 homers this season.
American Association Daily Notes
The Chicago Dogs signed LHP Scott Barnes. Barnes is a former Major Leaguer who spent parts of two seasons (2012-2013) in the big leagues with the Cleveland Indians. He is looking to return from an injury that wiped out his entire 2017 campaign, last appearing with the AAA-Iowa Cubs in 2016, where he was 1-3 in nine appearances.
By Robert Pannier
Member of the IBWAA