Years of Service: 20 (1965-84)
Photo via Baltimore Sports Then and Now
By nearly any measure, Jim Palmer is one of the best starting pitchers in Major League history. Where do you start? Three Cy Youngs, six All-Star games, four Gold Gloves, three World Series titles in three different decades, eight-time 20-game winner, two-time league ERA champ, 2,212 career strikeouts, first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, etc., etc., etc. Every ace pitcher who has come through the organization since has contended with the misfortune of inevitable comparison to Palmer and none has come anywhere close.
By the time I was old enough to pay attention, Palmer was just as famous for his Jockey ads as for his on-field heroics. Scantily clad male athletes are hardly surprising anymore but Palmer was the pioneer.
Image via flickr
I have always assumed that Palmer was at least part of the inspiration for Sam Malone of Cheers in light of the fact that Ted Danson looks a lot like him, though I've never actually seen or heard any concrete proof of that.
Photo via Piece of Mind
For each letter of the A to Z Challenge, I will feature one player from Baltimore Orioles/St. Louis Browns history. I hope you will join me. I hope you'll also check out the other 1200+ blogs participating. See the full list at Tossing It Out.