|JUST HOW I REMEMBER HIM.|
|WHO DOESN'T LIKE A DOUGHNUT TOSSING HURLER?|
THE FRONT PAGE
- This was my first '72, the card of my favorite pitcher, Jim Palmer, who won the most games of the 1970s, when I was growing up as an impressionable kid forming a love for baseball.
THE BACK PAGE
- I really like the '72 backs; they have a fine vintage feel.
- Great look at the classic O's cap, an iconic image from my youth.
- The Palmer stat that's always stuck with me: In 19 years and nearly 4,000 innings, he never allowed a grand slam.
- After his electric '66 season and staring down Sandy Koufax in the World Series, arm injuries hampered him the next two years.
- In fact, he was placed on waivers in '68 and left unprotected -- and unchosen -- in the expansion draft for the Pilots and Royals. Palmer as a Pilot? Palmer as a Royal? Why not? Always wondered how Brooks Robinson would've looked in a '77 Blue Jays uniform.
- Palmer bounced back with 16 wins in '69 to begin a prolonged run of excellence.
- Won 20+ game eight times, with two streaks of four 20-win seasons in a row ('70-'73 and '75'-'78).
- He is the only pitcher to win a World Series game in each of three decades, the last in relief in Game 3 against the Phillies. In fact, that Series game is still the only one in which the winning and losing pitcher (Steve Carlton) ended up in the Hall of Fame.
- Palmer was a member of all of the Orioles teams that made it to the World Series ('66, '69, '70, '71, '79 and '83).
- His nickname "Cakes'' came from a habit of eating pancakes for breakfast on the days he started, not because he was a Jockey pin-up model.
- His delivery was poetry in motion, a high-kicking orchestra of movement that resulted in an overhand release of a mid-90s fastball, slider, curve and change.
- Won three Cy Young Awards ('73, '75, '76) and finished second and third the next two years, respectively.
- Finished second to Reggie Jackson in the MVP voting in '73.
- In addition to leading baseball in wins in the '70s (186), Palmer also posted the lowest ERA (2.58).
- In '91, he attempted a comeback in spring training. I attended his only spring start in which he gave up five hits and two runs in two innings against the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla. I was cheering him on like it was Game 7 of the World Series. That would be his last official game.
- In order to piss off Manager Earl Weaver, he never relinquished the top of the mound when the 5-foot-7 Weaver came out to visit.
- The 6-foot-3 Palmer wrote about their sometimes toxic relationship in Palmer and Weaver: Together We Were Eleven Foot Nine. (Palmer knocked an inch off Weaver in the title.)
- Earlier this year at Camden Yards, the Orioles unveiled a bronze statue of Weaver; it's 7 feet tall. Take that, Cakes.