WASHINGTON -- Manager Frank Robinson broke his silence about Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, who earlier this month received a 10-day suspension for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program with a positive steroid test.
Entering Tuesday's action, Palmeiro had a .289 career batting average, with 3,020 hits, 569 home runs and 1,834 RBIs. Robinson believes that all those statistics should be eliminated from the record books.
"I would [wipe out his records]. He was found to have used steroids, and he served a 10-day suspension," said Robinson. "I was surprised and taken aback that he was using steroids, because I never thought about him being a person that might be a steroids user. I always admired him for the way he went about his work, the way he performed on the field and the way he conducted himself off the field."
Robinson's feelings for Palmeiro today are a complete turnaround from a few years ago. Robinson was the assistant general manager of the Orioles in 1994, when Palmeiro first signed with the team as a free agent. Before learning of Palmeiro's suspension, Robinson often called that the best free-agent signing of all time, based on Palmeiro's first tenure with the Orioles. Palmerio hit .293 and averaged 36 home runs and 111 RBIs from 1994 to 1998.
"I just looked at the years that he had, and I don't see anyone that could match up with that," said Robinson. "He had 30-something home runs every year, 100 and something RBIs, and hit about .290 or better. He had five solid years in Baltimore."
Robinson also said that Major League Baseball should not have the hardship of researching when a player started using steroids and then eradicating records for certain seasons.
"Where do you go back, stop and say, 'OK, when did he started using steroids?' To eliminate all that, and get the players' attention, you wipe the whole thing out," he said. "Why put the burden on baseball to try and figure out where to go, and maybe put an asterisk? Just wipe the whole thing out."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.