Tim Kurkjian’s Baseball Fix – Why Jim Palmer wasn’t afraid to walk someone with the bases loaded

You love baseball. Tim Kurkjian loves baseball. So, while we await your return, every day we will provide one or two stories related to that date in baseball history.

ON THIS DATE 1965, Jim Palmer recorded his first major league victory.


Jim Palmer was 19 years old, thin, loose and extremely athletic, a remarkably confident boy who played fast balls until someone hit one. And for almost 20 years, there weren't many hitters.

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Palmer is one of the greatest pitchers of all time, one of eight pitchers in the history of the game to win at least 268 games with at least a winning percentage of 0.638. Palmer won three Cy Young Awards and finished second twice. He won 20 games eight times in a nine-year period. He won a World Series game in three decades. In the longest stretch of Orioles' history – 1966 to 1983 – the only one that existed was Jim Palmer, the common denominator. He was the leader of one of the best pitching teams of all time, the 1971 Orioles, which had four winners from 20 games. And he was bold enough to face Earl Weaver, manager of the Hall of Fame.


"The only thing you know about pitching," Palmer told Weaver, "is that you didn't get it right." Palmer could get it right. On the day he won his first major league game, he beat home Jim Bouton. Palmer also won four gold gloves. And he could run. He was the top scorer for the Orioles basketball team every winter. He excelled at tennis, golf, almost everything.

His career is full of surprising numbers, but nothing more: in 3,948 entries, he never allowed a Grand Slam. I asked him as close as he came to giving up a grand slam and, 30 years later, he took me that turn, step by step, in Cleveland, in 1977. Rico Carty hit a ball over the central fence, but Al Bumbry reached out and pulled him back.


Palmer told me that occasionally, unintentionally, he intentionally strolled with a batter with loaded bases, not so that he could protect his career without hitting, but because he knew he could take the next guy off and thought that running in a race was too much of a move. more intelligent. So I found the 12 pasta that he walked with the bases loaded. A few years ago, I went to Palmer and told him that I had a list related to his career, and he had to find out. I have maybe three names on the list of 12.

Carlos May … a few others, and Palmer looked at me.

"Oh," he said, "these are the guys I walked around with loaded bases".

Other May 16 Baseball Notes

  • In 1986 Tony Phillips, from Oakland, started his cycle at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. This was one of the only triples hit at this stadium throughout the season. In 1985, only 11 triples were hit there, proving that it was more difficult to hit a triple at the Memorial Stadium than at the Pimlico Race Course.

  • In 1953, pitcher Rick Rhoden was born. On June 11, 1988, I covered the Orioles-Yankees game at Yankee Stadium, in which Yankees manager Billy Martin started Rhoden as DH, the first pitcher to start a game in a different pitch position since the rule was adopted in 1973. Rhoden came in seventh in order, ahead of shortstop Rafael Santana and catcher Joel Skinner. Rhoden landed a sacrificial fly in the fourth round.

  • In 1959, the Bob Patterson pitcher was born. He was a good left-handed rescuer for many years, but he was also very helpful and resourceful. He, among other things, restricted the gloves of his teammates while sitting in the pen. "Saturday," said Pirate coach Rich Donnelly, "he's coming back to stuff my sofa."

  • In 1970, Rico Carty's series of 31 games ended. He was a great hitter, but not a confident guy. "He used to carry his wallet in his back pocket when he played," said Dusty Baker, a former teammate. "Sometimes he carried coins in his uniform pocket. When he completed third position and returned home, it looked like Santa Claus was trying to score & # 39; & # 39 ;.

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