- October 15, 1945
- 6' 3"
- 190 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 4-17-1965 with BAL
- Allstar Selections:
- 1973 CY, 1973 TSN, 1975 CY, 1975 TSN, 1976 CY, 1976 GG, 1976 TSN, 1977 GG, 1978 GG, 1979 GG
- Hall of Fame:
The best pitcher in the history of the Baltimore Orioles, Jim Palmer pitched on six pennant-winning teams, reaching the 20-win mark eight times. Palmer occassionally bickered with manager Earl Weaver, while at the same time winning three Cy Young Awards in a four-year stretch. A winner of 268 games, the lanky right-hander was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1990.
#22 (1965-1967, 1969-1984)
"See those gray hairs? Every one of them has number 22 on it." â€” Earl Weaver, speaking of his tumultuous relationship with pitcher Jim Palmer "Jim's a perfectionist. he thinks he can go the whole nine innings without making a bad pitch." â€” teammate Mark Belanger "The Chinese tell time by the Year of the Dragon, The Year of the Horse. I tell time by Palmer - Year of the Shoulder, Year of the Elbow, The Year of the Ulna Nerve." â€” on dealing with his "fragile" star pitcher, Jim Palmer
"I'll probably have my best year in '83" â€” when told that Earl Weaver planned to retire after the 1982 season.
Pitching for Rochester in 1967, Palmer walked the bases loaded. Manager Earl Weaver stomped out to the mound and growled, "Throw this next pitch right down the middle to this hamburger." Palmer did as instructed and the batter launched a grand slam. Palmer was furious at his little manager. The batter's name was Johnny Bench.
In 1983, under new manager Joe Altobelli, young right-handers Storm Davis and Mike Boddicker were inserted into the Baltimore starting rotation. Palmer, who struggled with injury and ineffectiveness that season, was the odd man out.
Palmer was at his peak in '75, winning 23 games, throwing 10 shutouts, and fashioning a 2.09 ERA, all tops on the American League. He completed 25 games and even saved one. His hit ratio was the lowest of his career, and he fanned 193 batters. Working every fourth day, the right-handed ace allowed the opposition a miniscule .216 batting average. He walked off with his second Cy Young Award
In his Hall of Fame Career, Jim Palmer never allowed a grand slam.
Palmer was masterful at locating his pitches.
Palmer was an excellent athlete, and on the mound and in the field he really had no glaring weaknesses.
Spit and Polish
From 1975 to 1977, two Hall of Fame right-handers, Jim Palmer and Gaylord Perry, faced off three times in dazzling fashion. On June 13, 1975, 36-year old Gaylord Perry, less than three years removed from his 1972 Cy Young award winning season, was traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Texas Rangers in a blockbuster deal. The Rangers sent three pitchers, Jim Bibby, Jackie Brown, Rick Waits AND $100,000 to the Indians for Perryï¿½s services. Perry got off to a rocky start with the Rangers, going 7-6, but he was riding a four game winning streak into a Thursday night, August 21 matchup against Jim Palmer and the Orioles. Palmer, who would win his second Cy Young Award in 1975 and finish sixth in the MVP voting, was looking for his 20th win that night. The Orioles were in second place in the American League East seven games behind the front running Red Sox. The Rangers were stuck in fourth. Each pitcher excelled over the first three innings. Perry faced one batter over the minimum, with Paul Blair getting picked off after a first inning single, and Ken Singleton being erased after a Jim Northrup double play. Palmer retired the first nine Rangers. Texas began the scoring when Cesar Tovar, who singled, stole second and advanced to third on Dave Duncanï¿½s thowing error, was driven in by Jeff Burroughs for an unearned run. The Orioles answered in their fifth with Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson doubling to right and scoring on a Bobby Grich double. The back and forth trading of single runs continued in the Rangersï¿½ sixth, and the Oriolesï¿½ seventh, with Baltimoreï¿½s tally scoring on a Robinson single. That was all of the runs for quite some time. From the seventh inning until the twelfth when he departed, Jim Palmer faced 20 batters over six innings. Perry, keeping pace through the Orioles eleventh, gave up no more runs. Ultimately, the game was decided by the heroics of another Hall of Famer. Brooks Robinson, who had already contributed to the first two Oriole runs, drove in the deciding run on a double to center off reliever Steve Foucault in the top of the twelfth and scored the fourth and last run when Elrod Hendricks singled to right. The game ended 4-2, with Palmer going 12 innings and giving up one unearned run, while striking out six. Perry, while giving up 13 hits, went 11 innings giving up two runs and also striking out six. Both pitchers ended up with no decisions. A paltry crowd of 6,418 fans were sitting in Memorial Stadium for a Friday night game between the Rangers and Orioles on August 27, 1976. Once again, the Oï¿½s were in second place in the East, this time 11.5 games behind the Yankees. The Rangers were mired in fourth, 19 games in back of the division leading Royals. Perry, looking for win 13, was pitted against Palmer, already at 17 wins on his way to his third Cy Young Award. Al Bumbry scored for the Orioles in the bottom of the first and, for the rest of the game, goose eggs were put on the board, until the bottom of the ninth. Gaylord went eight innings in a complete game loss, walking one and striking out a season high 11 batters. Palmer, also in a complete game performance, went nine innings, walking zero and striking out ten. The 2:36 long contest saw both hurlers at the top of their games for the second time in a row against each other. The last time Perry would face Palmer as a member of the Rangers came in a nationally televised Game of the Week on Saturday July 23, 1977. For the third year in a row, the Orioles were in second place, this time just ï¿½ game behind the Red Sox. Again the Rangers were in fourth, but closer, at eight games behind of the White Sox. This game was the pinnacle of the three confrontations between the future Hall of Famers. For nine innings, these legendary hurlers shut out their opposition. Perry, two months shy of his 39th birthday, pitched nine scoreless innings, striking out nine, while allowing four hits and three walks. Palmer did even better, going 11 innings striking out nine and walking zero. The game ended in the thirteenth inning, with Mike Hargrove singling in Bump Wills, who had led of the top of the inning with the only extra base hit of the game, a double to center. Again, a no decision was the result of a hard dayï¿½s work for the two starting pitchers. Two future Hall of Famers, three outstanding matchups. In the three head to head duels between Jim Palmer and Gaylord Perry, their stats were: ...........IP....H....R....ER....BB....K Perry......28...24....5.....5.....5...26 Palmer.....32...19....2.....1.....0...25 Perryï¿½s ERA for these games was 1.60, but Palmerï¿½s was a mesmerizing 0.28. Plus, Palmer walked ZERO batters over the equivalent of three-and-a-half games. ï¿½ Jeff Katz
Palmer's Record with the Bases Loaded
Stats guru (and home run expert) David Smith offers these nuggets about Palmer's record with the bases loaded. It's been well-publicized that Palmer never allowed a grand slam, and a close look at the figures shows that he pitched well in situations with the bags full. First, Smith looked at how often Palmer was removed from the game with the bases loaded. Perhaps the tall, lanky right-hander was spared having to pitch very often in those situations? Smith found out that Palmer was removed from a game 16 times with the bases loaded. That's just about 5% of the times he was removed from a game. The league average during his career was 7.4%, so he wasn't taken out of an unusual amount of those games. How did Palmer do when the bases were loaded? The answer is that he did pretty well. In 184 at-bats with the bases loaded, batters hit .196 with a .230 slugging percentage and a .234 OBP.
On Father's Day 1979, in the wake of a report that Palmer wanted more money from the Orioles, manager Earl Weaver posted a sign above Palmer's locker that read "Grow Up." Predictably, Palmer was incensed. Weaver and Palmer engaged in another of their famous shouting matches, but, as usual, quickly made up.
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