Baltimore Orioles: Looking back at Jim Palmer on his 72nd birthday
For 19 years, Jim Palmer pitched his heart out for the Baltimore Orioles and earned his rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
On the Baltimore Orioles pitcher’s 72nd birthday, let’s take a moment and look at what made him so great.
Palmer began his career in 1965 and finished it in 1984. He only played for the Orioles after being drafted by them in 1964 as an 18-year-old. He played A-ball for the Aberdeen Pheasants in South Dakota and then he played for the Orioles in their Florida Instructional League. One season later, he was with the MLB Orioles and there is stayed.
A true workhorse
Palmer was the definition of a workhorse. In today’s pitching world, throwing 200 innings is a rare feat. Palmer had three seasons where he threw over 300 innings. And, a total of 10 years with over 200 innings. Chris Sale led the MLB in 2017 with 214.1 innings pitched. On 2017 Orioles, Kevin Gausman led the team with 186.2. Palmer averaged 207 innings pitched in his 19 years on the mound. In fact for four seasons, he led the league in innings pitched with 305, 315, 319, and 296. And those are regular season innings.
Another notable statistic that separates Palmer from today’s pitchers is the sheer number of complete games he pitched. In 1975, he pitched 25 complete games and did not lead the league that year. In 1976, he pitched 23 complete games and in 1977, he led the league with 22 complete games. This season, only one Orioles pitched one complete game: Dylan Bundy and it was his very first.
It is easy to see why Jim Palmer earned three Cy Young Awards and went to six All-Star Games. In two of his seasons, he led the league with the lowest ERA. In 1973, he pitched a 2.40 and in 1975 he had an ERA of 2.09. He finished his career with an ERA of 2.86.
While many people are not fans of the win, it is worth noting the number that Palmer had in his career. He started in 521 games, won 268, and lost 152. He pitched in 211 complete games. It is safe to say that when Palmer toed the rubber, the Orioles had a very good chance of winning.
His WAR over the course of his career was 68.1. He only had two years with a negative WAR – his first year in 1965 and his last year in 1984. His best year was 1975, when he had a WAR of 8.5. That same year, he finished the season with a record of 22-11, an ERA of 2.09, 25 complete games, 10 shutouts, and a WHIP of 1.031. He won a Cy Young, went to the All-Star Game, and finished sixth in the MVP vote.
World Series numbers
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On top of his honors as a pitched, Palmer was also involved in three World Series championships. Oddly, he pitched and batted in the 1966 World Series in game two against the Los Angeles Dodgers; he went 0-4 with two strikeouts. He pitched a shutout in this game. In 1970, the Orioles won another World Series, this time against the Cincinnati Reds. Palmer pitched 15.2 innings in two games, winning game one by a score of 4-3 and losing game four by a score of 5-6. He also pitched in game three of the 1983 World Series. Even though he only pitched two innings in relief, it was enough to help the team get the win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Palmer is in a class all by himself, especially when it comes to Orioles pitchers. He shares the Hall of Fame with long-time Orioles Brooks Robinson, Eddie Murray, and Cal Ripken, Jr. Palmer is the only pitcher on this list of the best of the best.
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We wish all the best to Jim Palmer on his 72nd birthday.