Hall of Famer suspicious of Oriole's output

Updated: March 16, 2004, 2:48 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Jim Palmer has questions about Brady Anderson, his 50 homers in 1996 and steroids, but the Hall of Fame pitcher couldn't come up with definitive answers when pinned down about his suspicions.

In an interview broadcast on a Baltimore radio station Sunday, Palmer said that Anderson's Orioles-record 50-homer output might have been tainted by steroid use. Anderson's previous best was 21 homers in 1992 and his subsequent best was 24 in 1999. He hit 16 and 18 the seasons before and after he hit his 50.

"I like Brady, and it doesn't mean he's a bad guy because he took steroids," Palmer said in the interview, which was taped Saturday. "But I'm sure he wanted to enhance his performance.

"I don't know how he hit 29 more homers that year," said Palmer, who announces on Orioles telecasts. "And he hit 31 more on the road that year, so it's not like he took advantage of Camden Yards."

Palmer's quotes appeared in The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday. He was interviewed by radio station 98 Rock.

In the interview, Palmer also questioned Barry Bonds' performance in breaking Mark McGwire's single-season home run record in 2001, noting that his increased size and power could have come from an illegal source.

Asked Monday by The Sun to explain himself, Palmer said, "I don't know if Brady took steroids. How would I know? But he did go from [16] home runs to 50.

"When Bonds goes from 49 to 73, you just wonder," Palmer told the newspaper. "You're trying to have a level playing field and maintain the integrity of the game. I'm sure it was a great year for Brady, and it was a great year when Bonds broke McGwire's record, but you just wonder."

Palmer said he didn't mean to indict Anderson.

"It was a general comment on the state of the game," Palmer said to The Sun. "They need to deal with it, whether it's Congress or the commissioner and the players union, they're going to have to come up with something.

"I'm just saying it's a concern when you have aberrations in people's performances," Palmer said. "I know how hard Brady worked to be a good player. But who knows? You just don't know, and that's the fault of baseball, not Brady."