05/11/2003 9:53 PM ET
Raffy Report: Thoughts on No. 500
Veteran slugger sets his sights on next milestone
Not long after hitting his 500th home run, Rafael Palmeiro shared his time with MLB.com in a special edition of "The Raffy Report," to discuss his thoughts on his monumental home run. The 38-year old veteran is now a proud member of the 500 home run club and said he has his eyes set on 600. But for now, he is happy just to get his 500th home run out of the way.
It's a special moment for everybody, and especially for my family who has been there through the years supporting me. This is a special time my loved ones will never forget, but
I'm just glad to get it over with so we can concentrate on the team and what we have to do to get this thing going.
Right now, the people from the Hall of Fame want all this stuff. I'm giving them batting gloves, bats, hats -- everything. They want it all and that's fine with me, they can have it. It's still pretty hectic here and I'm glad I'm done. I really just want to take a shower and go home and be with my family. I'm glad this is over with so we can move on.
I'll celebrate a little with my family tonight but not too much. This is not the last home run I will hit. I think I have a lot baseball left in me and have other goals. I'll get back to work tomorrow.
Everybody has been very supportive. My dad obviously introduced me to game, and showed me how to play. He'll probably ask me why I popped out to third with the bases loaded, instead of talk about the home run. My mom just wanted me to get it over with, so I could relax and just play the game -- she's a mother. Obviously, she wanted me to hit it on Mother's Day so that could be my gift to her, so I'm glad I could do that.
When the homestand started, I came back into town wanting to get it over with. And, obviously, I was not swinging the bat the way I was capable of. (Manager) Buck (Showalter and I talked a little bit about it. I knew it was going to happen, and I would love for it to happen here (in Texas). But if it doesn't happen here, my first priority is to help my team and stay within my game plan so I can be productive.
It's a big relief to do it at home. I wanted to do it at home. From the time we got off the road trip, I knew I had to hit two home runs. I tried not to think about it, but it's kind of hard when you have a sign that's about six-hundred feet long staring at you behind the release point of the pitcher.
Obviously, I've hit 500 home runs so I belong in that 500 Club. But when you talk about guys like Mantle and Ruth and Williams, I'm not as good as they were. Those guys were the greatest of all time. I've just been able to scrape together some good years and stayed healthy and gotten there. I don't put myself in some of those guys' group. They're the best of all time.
Rafael Palmeiro's first-person report was told to Jesse Sanchez, a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.