Rafael Palmeiro spent some time reflecting before he was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame on Friday in Lubbock, Texas.
Palmeiro's legacy shifted in the summer of 2005. On July 15, he got his 3,000th career hit and joined an exclusive club of players with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray are the only other players to have done both. On Aug. 1, Palmeiro found out he had failed a steroids test and was suspended 10 days by Major League Baseball.
"I made a mistake," Palmeiro told ESPN's Pedro Gomez on Friday. "I didn't really understand what I was taking and I paid for it. I paid for it very dearly. Life goes on."
Palmeiro continues to deny knowingly taking performance enhancing drugs.
"I've heard a lot of things out there that are wrong," he said. "People saying I took drugs all my life, I've never touched anything. I worked my butt off my whole career, as a kid, in college, the big leagues, I didn't need anything, I didn't have to cheat at the end of my career, for what? What was I going to gain from it? Whatever I took was tainted, had to have been. There's no other reason unless I got set up.
"What I took was a B-12 [vitamin] that was given to me by a teammate. That's it. That was it."
Before the failed test, while testifying before a House committee with other ballplayers in March 2005, Palmeiro had stated: "I have never used steroids. Period. I don't know how to say it any more clearly than that."
Palmeiro said he has no regrets about his testimony before Congress because he had never taken anything. He hopes the list of 104 players who tested positive in 2003 is released because, "I'm not on the list."
Palmeiro was a three-time first-team All-American at Mississippi State. He was the SEC's first triple crown winner in 1984, when he hit .415 with 29 home runs and 94 RBIs.