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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.
I'm taking this moment to tip my cap to Milt Pappas, surely one of the most underrated, underappreciated players in MLB history. Pappas is best-known for "the main player in the Frank Robinson trade." That's fine, but why did the Reds want him so badly? Look at his stats: a career record of 209-164. 13 seasons with at least 12 Wins, a 3-time All-Star, and the NL leader in shutouts in 1971. This gentleman is worth remembering; not as fodder for Frank Robinson, but as a winner of 54% of his games over the course of his 17-year Major-League career - he won between 12-17 games in 13-out-of-14 seasons - how many players in Major-League history can say they won 12+ games in 13-out-of-14 seasons? Probably less than 50. In a sport where 10% means a lot, Milton Steven Pappas was well-above average as a Major-League pitcher - easily in the top-half of all pitchers measured over the course of history. Don't ever forget: If it wasn't for Milt Pappas, the Orioles might not have gotten Frank Robinson (think about that for a moment).