Palmer: Face of the Orioles


Palmer: Face of the Orioles

Jim Palmer is 66 now. Thats hard for lots of Orioles fans to believe.He still looks terrific, moving easily around the batting cage and visiting in the clubhouse, talking with players, coaches, managers and anyone else.Palmer is the face of the Orioles. That may be hard to believe, but Brooks Robinson hasnt been around the club much in recent years and Cal Ripken has moved on to success in the business of baseball.Palmers the one now.As the still outspoken analyst of half a seasons games, Palmer can take shots at Jake Arrieta or Brian Matusz and viewers will appreciate that. Others couldnt do that.
Outsiders dont know that Palmer will talk pitching for extended periods of time with Arrieta or Matusz, give them advice and the bristle when they cant or wont take it.Some years back, David Segui, who became notorious during the steroid period, groused that Palmer should stay out of the clubhouse. No one wanted him there. No one appreciated his advice.Segui is long gone. Palmer is still there.Palmers advice is wise and friendly and offered to Orioles and opponents alike. Hes one of the few local broadcasters who regularly visits opposing clubhouses, too. Its probably a remnant of his years at ABC, when he did national games.On Saturday, Palmer gets his statue at Oriole Park. Two weeks after Earl Weaver, Palmer will stand and speak. Hell also cry. He said that on a telecast last weekend. Palmer and his broadcast partner Gary Thorne joked about when he would start to cry on Saturday. Pretty quickly, Palmer said.Weaver will be there as Palmer was there for him two weeks ago. Their arguments have now been reduced to caricatures, and both are probably eager to forget when they were serious.Neither Palmer nor Weaver would have had the success they enjoyed without the other.Palmer is the only Oriole to have played in each of the franchises six World Series and three championships, in 1966, 1970 and 1983. Its no coincidence that Palmers time coincided with the greatest sustained success in franchise history. In only one of his 19 seasons did the franchise finish below .500.While no one will break Ripkens consecutive games streak, its highly unlikely that any pitcher will win as many games in an Orioles uniform as Palmer.He was 268-152, a .638 winning percentage and a sparkling 2.89 ERA. He won 20 games eight times. Only one Orioles pitcher has won 20 since he retiredand that was in the season he retired.Palmer was a teenager when he signed with the Orioles, learning the game under Cal Ripken, Sr. and coming to Baltimore at 19. A year later, Palmer became the youngest player to throw a shutout in the World Series as the Orioles swept the Dodgers in four.He often talked about his injuries. While critics thought he was hypersensitive, he was just well informed. Palmer had terrific moundmates, too. He, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar and Pat Dobson each won 20 games in 1971. Sadly, hes the only one who survives.He stayed around long enough to have a new generation of equally skilled pitchers join him in the late seventies and early eighties: Mike Flanagan, Steve Stone, Scott McGregor, Dennis Martinez, Storm Davis and Mike Boddicker.
Thirty years ago, Palmer was one of the first athletes to appeal to non-sports fans. He thoroughly enjoyed being an underwear model for Jockey and posters of him were sold by the thousands.He has a rich life as a father, grandfather and stepfather. Recently, he was in the news for auctioning off his trophies to help provide educational funds for his grandchildren and teenaged autistic stepson.A friend of mine who monitors these things told me recently that Palmers charge for autographs is far less than other players of his stature.Free agency came along during Palmers salad days. He never really cashed in. It was unthinkable for him to leave the Orioles, and according to, he never made more than 250,000 a season.Weaver retired after the 1982 season, and by the time he returned in June 1985, Palmer was gone. After a few ineffective appearances in 1984, the team let him go.As cold and calculating as Weaver could be, it must have relieved him that he didnt have to be the one to tell Palmer he was finished.He talked about pitching elsewhere and seven years later tried an abortive comeback in spring training. At his farewell news conference at Memorial Stadium, he started to talk, broke down and ran off to the parking lot.On Saturday, hell break down, but this time Palmer wont head to the parking lot.

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Redskins starters training camp one-liners, offense

Associated Press

Redskins starters training camp one-liners, offense

During training camp, it’s natural for the media coverage to gravitate towards the long shots and underdogs and the backups fighting to hang on to a roster spot. The starters go out and do their thing and those players doing their thing isn’t news. 

With that in mind, here is a one-liner review of how each anticipated starter fared in training camp. We’ll start with the offense today, look for the defense tomorrow. 

QB Alex Smith—He still needs some work on timing with his receivers but overall, he looks like a quarterback you can win with. 

RB Rob Kelley—After his move up to starter in the wake of the Derrius Guice injury, Kelley continues to work as he has from the start of camp, like a guy fighting for a roster spot.

WR Paul Richardson—The $40 million free agent pickup showed that his game has some versatility as he made some tough catches over the middle along with some deep receptions. 

WR Josh Doctson—His heel injury slowed down what was solid progress early in training camp.

WR Jamison Crowder—His solid, workmanlike camp should make Redskins fans hope that the team is working on a long-term contract extension with Crowder right now. 

TE Jordan Reed—Considering his importance to the offense, his progress after having surgery on both of his big toes is the most positive story from camp

LT Trent Williams—The plan to ramp up his activity as he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery is right on track and there’s every reason to believe he’ll be a full strength in Week 1. 

LG Shaun Lauvao—When he’s healthy, Lauvao is a good enough guard to win with and so far, he has been healthy. 

C Chase Roullier—His strength is often on display during one-on-one blocking drills and he has the appearance of a center the Redskins will be able to plug in and play for at least the next several years. 

RG Brandon Scherff—The fourth-year player is working his way towards his third straight Pro Bowl appearance.

RT Morgan Moses—He is still working through some ankle pain but he should be good to go Week 1. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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John Gant homers, pitches Cardinals to 6-4 win over Nationals


John Gant homers, pitches Cardinals to 6-4 win over Nationals

ST. LOUIS -- Even John Gant cracked a smile.

Gant homered for his first major league hit and pitched one-run ball into the sixth inning, helping the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals 6-4 on Tuesday night for their season-high seventh consecutive victory.

Kolten Wong had three hits and three RBIs as St. Louis (65-55) pulled within four games of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs and moved within one game of the Philadelphia Phillies for the second NL wild card. The Cardinals also improved to 18-9 since Mike Shildt was named interim manager on July 13, the most wins for a manager through his first 27 games in franchise history.

"Things are starting to click for us," Wong said. "We're playing confident. We're out there playing aggressive and I think it's the kind of baseball Cardinals fans have been waiting for."

The Nationals (60-60) have dropped six of eight to fall eight games behind Atlanta in the NL East.

"We've just got to keep pulling the same rope, keep grinding it out, keep trying to win ballgames," Nationals slugger Bryce Harper said.

Gant (5-4) permitted four hits and struck out six in 5 1/3 innings. He has given up just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings in his last two starts, both wins.

The 26-year-old Gant was 0 for 30 for his career when he drove a 1-1 pitch from Gio Gonzalez (7-9) over the wall in left in the second. The two-run shot gave Washington a 3-0 lead.

"I was jogging kind of my hands in the air," said Wong, who scored on Gant's homer. "I already knew it was going out. Looking back I think he almost caught me."

Added Gant, "I thought it was going to hit the wall maybe but when I finally looked up and (Wong) was looking back at me, that's when I knew it was going over the wall."

Gant, who has a reputation for being a stoic player, admitted to smiling "once or twice" once he got back to the dugout.

Wong's solo homer made it 6-1 in the sixth, but Washington responded with three in the eighth. Harper hit a two-run shot, and Daniel Murphy singled in Anthony Rendon.

Matt Adams then struck out looking against Dakota Hudson, ending the inning, and Jordan Hicks worked the ninth for his fourth save in eight chances.

Paul DeJong also doubled and scored for St. Louis one night after he connected for a game-ending homer in a 7-6 victory. Matt Carpenter walked in the sixth to extend his on-base streak to 32 games.

"We have a 25-man roster and we have confidence in all of them," Shildt said. "They're here for a reason and guys are looking to contribute every night and in different ways."

Gonzalez was charged with five runs and five hits in four innings. The veteran left-hander is just 1-4 in his last six starts.

"I wasn't hitting my spots," Gonzalez said. "Just not being as consistent in the strike zone as I should be. It's just one of those games you can't explain."