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"Willie McCovey: Giants Legend Dies at 80" by Steve Kroner and John Shea on sfchronicle.com
It's funny - back in 1970, I think that in many ways, I knew more about Major League Baseball than I know today. In my eyes, Dave McNally was the club's ace, followed by Jim Palmer and Mike Cuellar in no particular order. Put yourself in that time period: There was no internet, no "online stats," and only The Washington Post, Channel 13, my older brother, and a slew of baseball cards as resources to form an opinion - this was mine, when I was nine.
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.
Today is Jackie Robinson Day, when every player on every major-league team will wear jersey #42. It is the only day of the season when #42 is permitted to be worn, as MLB retired the number from every team. Special mention also to Branch Rickey, who had the foresight, wisdom, and humanity to hand-select Robinson for the chore of being named the first black MLB player, because Rickey knew Robinson was tough enough, and gentle enough, to endure the racial taunting. And also to Bill Veeck, who attempted integration in 1942, but was thwarted. Not enough attention is paid to these two men, without whom, Jackie Robinson would most likely be in the Hall of Fame as a Negro League player. In honor of one of the great Americans in history, Jackie Robinson. And some trivia (which is too important to be trivia): We all know that Jessie Owens won the 200-meter dash in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but almost nobody knows that the silver medalist for the same event, finishing 0.4 seconds behind Owens, was Mack Robinson, Jackie's older brother.