Short Hops: Rafael Palmeiro by Rob Iracane

Rob Iracane once wrote for an awesome blog called Walkoff Walk. He lives in New Jersey and contributes to Yahoo!’s Big League Stew. You can find him on the Twitter @iracane. His most 90s 1B is Rafael Palmeiro.

Stylistically, Rafael Palmeiro was the last human being north of the Rio Grande to sport such a full, dark mustache after 1993. During his time as an Oriole, most of the fans pouring into Camden Yards from Western Maryland wore weak, translucent mustaches that implied they were products of inappropriate familial relations. But not Palmeiro. His mustache was as thick and black as the darkness that envelops rural Frederick County after sundown, the kind of mustache shade you can only get out of a box nowadays.

This facial fuzz fact alone does not prove him as a prototypical 1990s first baseman as much as his stained existence as a overrated defender and juiced-up tater tot swatter does. Not much else designates the 1990s as an age of irrational exuberance quite like the 1999 American League Gold Glove award for first basemen that went to Palmeiro in his second year back with the Texas Rangers, when he was an older fella who played but 250 innings in the field the entire year.

I guess his super-low error total (1) piqued the dull brains inside the AL managers and coaches that year. It was either that or the haunting growth on his upper lip.

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