James Alvin Palmer (born October 15, 1945 in New York, NY), best known as Jim Palmer and nicknamed "Cakes", is a former Major League Baseball right-handed starting pitcher who played his entire career for the Baltimore Orioles (1965-1984).
Palmer has been considered the best pitcher in the Orioles history. He was the main symbol of Baltimore's six championship teams between the 1960s and 1980s. Also, he is the only pitcher in the MLB history to win World Series games in three different decades (1966, 1970-71, 1983). During his career, he was almost finished by arm, shoulder, and back problems.
A high-kicking pitcher, Palmer picks up his first major league win on May 16, 1965, beating the Yankees at home, and hitting his first of his three majors home runs. He finished with a 5-4 record.
In 1966 Palmer joined the starting rotation. Baltimore rolled to the pennant, behind Frank Robinson?s MVP season. Palmer won his final game against the Oakland Athletics to clinch the ALCS. That October 6, he became the youngest pitcher (20 years, 11 months) to win a complete-game, World Series shutout, defeating Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers in Game Two, and the Orioles went on to sweep the series.
The next two seasons were frustrating for Palmer, as arm troubles shelved him. He threw just 49 innings in 1967 and was sent to minor league rehabilitation. Finally, thanks to surgery, work in the 1968 Instructional League and in winter ball, he regained his form.
In 1969 Palmer returned healthy, rejoining the Orioles rotation that included 20-game winners Dave McNally and Mike Cuellar, combining one of the finest starting staffs ever. That August 13, Palmer threw a no-hitter game against Oakland, just four days after coming off the disabled list. He finished the season with a mark of 16-4, 123 SO, 2.34 ERA, and .800 of winning percentage.
The next two years saw two more championships as the Orioles took their place among the great teams of all-time. In 1970 Cuellar went 24-8, McNally 24-9, Palmer 20-10; in 1971 the trio had 20-9, 21-5, 20-9, respectively, with Pat Dobson adding 20-8. Only one other team in MLB history, the 1920 Chicago White Sox, have had four 20-game winners.
Palmer won 21 games in 1972, and went 22-9, 158, 2.40 in 1973, walking off with his first Cy Young Award. The next year Palmer went 22-9, 158, 3.40, but his eight 20-win seasons were interrupted in 1974 when he was downed for eight weeks with elbow problems. He finished 7-12.
Again, Palmer was at his peak in 1975, winning 23 games, throwing 10 shutouts (allowing just 44 hits in those games), and fashioning a 2.09 ERA --all tops in the American League. He completed 25 games, even saved one, and allowed the batters a .216 of batting average. He won his second Cy Young award, and repeated his feat in 1976 (22-13, 2.51).
In 1977-78 Palmer won 20 and 21. Over the next six seasons he was hampered by arm fatigue and a myriad of minor injuries. He retired after the 1984 season. Seven years later, Palmer assists to the Orioles spring training camp as a non-roster player. After a struggling performance against the Boston Red Sox, he will retire again citing a hamstring injury.
In his 19-year career Palmer had a record of 268-152 , with 2212 strikeouts, 2.86 of earned run average, 521 games started, 211 complete games, and 53 shutouts in 3948 innings pitched, finishing his career without allowing a grand slam. In six ALCS and six WS, he had a combined record of 7-5, 90, 2.61, and two shutouts in 17 games.
Jim Palmer was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990.
3-time Cy Young Award (1973, 1975-76)
5-time top 10 Cy Young Award (1970, 1972, 1977-78, 1982)
4-time Gold Glove (1976-79)
3-time top 10 MVP (1973, 1975-76)
8-time won 20-or-more games (1970-73, 1975-78)
3-time led league in wins (1975-77)
Led league in winning percentage (1982)
Twice league in ERA (1973, 1975)
Twice led league in GS (1976-77)
Led league in CG (1977)
Twice led league in SHO (1970, 1975)
4-time led league in IP (1970, 1976-78)
4-time pitched at least 305 innings (1970, 1975-77)
4-time pitched at least 275 innings (1971-73, 1978)