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This may sound ridiculous, given that he's 16-years older than I am, but Jim Palmer was actually somewhat *after* my time as a baseball fanatic (at ages 7-12, I knew more about baseball than I know now, and I was something of a prodigy) - Palmer really didn't hit his stride until halfway through "my prime." I had always thought that he was something of a prima donna, but after watching the video I'm going to present to you, I think I was wrong - he had a very difficult childhood, having been adopted at birth, having lost his beloved adoptive father, Mo Wiesen, at age 9, and having gone from being named Jim Wiesen to Jim Palmer when his beloved mother, Polly Wiesen, married actor Max Palmer in 1956 - this child had three fathers by the time he was eleven! And he had legitimate, career-threatening injury problems from 1967 through 1969 - I always thought he was just a self-pampering person, but I was dead wrong - if you watch this video, you'll see just how much he loved his three parents, both adoptive-, and step-; he never knew his biological parents, but he isn't affected by that in the video (titled, "Jim Palmer - The Making of a Hall of Famer,," and narrated by legendary Orioles broadcaster, Chuck Thompson). He was an All-State athlete in three sports, and yes, he is somewhat cocky, and maybe even a bit "self-aware" when it comes to his athletic talent (and his looks don't exactly hurt), but given the gifts he had, he comes across, primarily, as a loving, devoted son to me - I never knew! In Game 2 of the 1966 World Series, Jim Palmer pitched a four-hit shutout against Sandy Koufax, in what was to be Koufax's final game ever. In the process, the 20-year-old Palmer became the youngest person ever to pitch a shutout in a World Series game - a record which stands to this very day. On Aug 13, 1969, a day after I turned 8-years old, Palmer pitched his only no-hitter: an "ugly" game, as he puts it, with 11 strikeouts and *9* walks! But it was good enough for a no-no against the expansion Kansas City Royals (one of four expansion teams in 1969, the very first year of the League Championship Series (the Royals would exact their revenge in the 2014 ALCS)). Palmer is also the only pitcher ever to win a World Series game in three different decades, and he did it the hard way - beginning in 1966, and ending in 1983. I'm so glad I watched this video - I always respected Palmer; now, I really, really like him as well.
Thanks for the reference @Kibbee Nayee Ron Guidry brings back memories, connecting all the way back to my youth. My closest friend, going all the way back to kindergarten turned into a high school baseball star; a pitcher who was Guidry sized--(very skinny) not tall, but who also had tremendous velocity a good curve and great control. He won all-conference, all county and all state honors along with a baseball scholarship to a division one college. But unfortunately his career peaked in college. Didn't go any further. Anyway we were sort of one another's "wing men" long before that phrase became popular, and practiced that starting in elementary school When Guidry burst onto the scene in the mid 70's we both realized this pitching star was the same size and dimensions as my ole bud, Don. They pitched alike albeit Guidry a bit, or more likely quantum levels better--but alike, nonetheless. Once Guidry became known we used to go to Memorial Stadium to see Guidry pitch, even springing for close up expensive seats. Ole Don grudgingly admitted: "Guidry's better". We saw Guidry pitch in Baltimore probably 7 years. Every year we'd schedule a visit: "Lets go see Guidry ." Guidry was a phenomena. Probably shorter than virtually all ball players and way way skinnier, but he had excellent velocity and had a dominating career for a number of years. Its not the kind of thing I ever whine about, but I felt a strong connection to Guidry...and damn yes. He should have won the MVP in '78. That was an epic pitching performance, one of the best in history. Damn that reference gave me a flood of memories. From elementary school on till our late 30's at least, we might have competed in some sport, some game, even checkers and chess. I estimate my record against that sucker might be an inglorious 20-480 or thereabouts. Ha ha. Cripes, I recalled, being his wing man, racing out of first or second gradel right after class, racing toward his house and neighborhood and hiding in some bushes. When some big galoot came by we both jumped out of the bushes and pounded him to a pulp. I didn't even know why. (guess he had previously punched out ole Don). That is a wing man for you. I don't believe I've ever strongly felt "this guy deserves the MVP" in any sport in any year. I still think that way for Guidry and 1978. What a flood of memories.
Jim Palmer was mentioned in a NYTImes article the other day. He is 70 and covers the Orioles for MASN. Once though he was the Orioles best pitcher and is in the Hall of Fame. Some of his accomplishments: Won 186 games in the 70's, most games of any pitcher in the 1970's. 8 seasons of 20 wins or more 3 Cy Young awards 268 wins, all with the Orioles and other assorted accomplishments. Palmer was also well known for his many arguments with his manager, Earl Weaver. If you don't know about Palmer from his present or his past ball playing accomplishments he was also a national advertising model for jockey underwear!!!! It is also argued that Palmer could be the most overrated pitcher in history. The Orioles teams he pitched for probably had the greatest defense in all of baseball history, starring Brooks Robinson at 3rd, Mark Belanger at SS, and Paul Blair in Center Field. Maybe. I still enjoyed watching the O's in those days and Palmer's high kick pitching motion.