Wed Oct 19 12:00am EDT
Hitting major-league pitching during baseball's steroid era proved much easier for Rafael Palmeiro than becoming a real estate tycoon has during these troubled economic times. Snubbed in January for the Hall of Fame, and set back in June by his land development company filing for bankruptcy, Palmeiro today finds himself where so many other Americans do: begging creditors for more time to pay bills.
If only Palmeiro's autograph were worth something right now, he could sell some signed memorabilia to whittle down what he owes. Not that baseball card shows would begin to truly cover his debts.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Palmeiro's company has requested five years to sell about 200 acres of undeveloped land in Grapevine, Texas — property north of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Creditors are owed about $40 million and Palmeiro personally is on the hook for about $10 million of that. But it's all right — Palmeiro has it all figured out:
According to the proposed plan, Palmeiro and his wife, Lynne, who live in Colleyville, said they will sell a home in Pebble Beach, Calif., worth at least $10.5 million, and use $2.5 million from the sale to make interest payments on notes until the property, which fronts Texas 121 and Farm Road 2499, sells.
Sounds like fun. (Hey, y'all: Real estate gossip peddler Candy Evans has some details on the Palmeiro's Pebble Beach home, if you're in the market for either real estate or real estate gossip.)
Palmeiro could be considered the quintessential first baseman of the 1990s, with his sweet left-handed swing having produced 569 home runs and 3,020 hits for his career, marks only three others have achieved. Having spent 10 of 19 seasons with them, the Rangers normally would parade Palmeiro around during the World Series as an example of the organization's legacy. Instead, he's something of a pariah, having won only 11 percent of the Hall of Fame vote in his first season of eligibility, mostly because he pointed a finger at Congress in March 2005 and said he never used performance-enhancing drugs — before getting suspended in August of that year for taking them.
Palmeiro even put the President of the United States in the position of having to vouch for his character. Is that friendship with George W. Bush strong enough for Palmeiro to ask for a personal loan to keep the sharks away? Maybe he won't have to ask, if the real estate market picks up. It's doing that, right?
Despite the collective opinion of the electorate, Palmeiro should be in Cooperstown, no matter that he apparently lied to Congress — lied to everyone — about taking PEDs. He won't get in, at least not until the attitude about the era in which he played changes.
But maybe he can get out of debt. These days, anybody would take that in a trade.