Surprise, surprise. Rafael Palmeiro can still hit all these years later.
In case you missed the news earlier in May, the Mississippi State baseball legend is attempting the seemingly impossible feat of making a comeback as a professional ballplayer at the age of 53.
After marketing himself as a potential pickup for Major League Baseball organizations in need of a veteran left-handed hitter through the winter, the man with 3,020 big league hits and 569 home runs is again a professional baseball player after 13 years away from the game.
And he’s launching dingers. After going 0 for 4 in his debut for the independent league Cleburne Railroaders during the team’s season opener on May 18, Palmeiro made a successful return to the lineup on Monday.
In video captured by Twitter user Garey Wylie and shared by the Railroaders, Bulldogs fans will find that familiar smooth left-handed swing launching a ball over the outfield wall for his first home run of the 2018 season:
Don’t believe Raffy homered?
Watch it for yourself 👀
🎥/Garey Wylie pic.twitter.com/l7tNlogv0n
— Cleburne Railroaders (@CRRBaseball) May 22, 2018
Dom Izzo offers a different camera angle on the home run as it clears the right-field fence to break a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning:
— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) May 22, 2018
Palmeiro is playing alongside his oldest son, Patrick, with the Texas-based independent league team.
Though the former Bulldogs player has put up Hall of Fame-worthy statistics, his 20-year Major League career was mostly ignored by the voters following a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs during the latter stages of Palmeiro’s career. The failed test followed an outspoken appearance in front of the United States Congress during which he vehemently denied using any such substances while infamously pointing his finger at the panel in disgust, making him a controversial figure in the debate on Cooperstown worthiness of star players from his era.
In 2015, the SEC Network released a 30-for-30 style documentary called “Thunder and Lightning,” which chronicled Palmeiro’s quest with fellow former big league player Will Clark to put Mississippi State into the College World Series during the 1985 season.