As soon as Rafael Palmeiro knew the ball was going to stay fair, the Texas slugger dropped his bat and started trotting the bases, just the way he had 499 times before.
"It was just like any other home run. I hit it, and I knew I got it," Palmeiro said. "I knew it was going to be far enough. I just wanted to make sure it didn't go foul."
Like all of his previous homers, there was no posing and no strutting after the ball left the bat.
But on this home run, Palmeiro became just the 19th player ever and second this season to join the 500-homer club.
Palmeiro hit a full-count fastball into the right field stands off Cleveland right-hander David Elder, a 370-foot shot. The homer came in his fifth at-bat of the game, in his last chance to get No. 500 at home.
"Once I got to first and I touched first base, I don't remember what happened," Palmeiro said. "It was just a numb feeling all the way around the bases."
This Rawlings official American League baseball was the ball that Palmeiro hit for his 500th Career Home Run off of Indians pitcher David Elder. It was signed by Palmeiro and inscribed, "Game Used, 5/11/03, HR. 500 vs. Cleveland, vs. David Elder."
This baseball includes a Palmeiro hologram as well as a Beckett sticker and COA.