Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Vintage Fridays: Jim Palmer, 1976 O-Pee-Chee #200

By the time this card was making its way into the collection of some lucky Canadian kid, Jim Palmer was well on his way to a second consecutive Cy Young Award. He didn't quite match his 23 wins of the previous year, but he did lead the American League once again with 22 W's. In '76, he dominated several teams, but none moreso than the White Sox: he won all four of his starts against the Pale Hose, with three complete games and two shutouts and a 1.38 ERA. The last of those four games was one for the memory bank.

It was August 22, a Sunday afternoon game at Comiskey Park and the first half of a doubleheader. The White Sox wore their infamous and short-lived short pants, but they didn't embarrass themselves on the field. Palmer and Chicago's Ken Kravec swapped zeroes for the first five innings, but the O's broke out on top with two runs in the sixth inning. Doug DeCinces and Ken Singleton had back-to-back RBI singles to account for the scoring. For a while it seemed like Baltimore's ace would collect his third shutout of the year against the Sox, but they loaded the bases in the eight inning and tied the game on a two-run single by Jorge Orta. Palmer was surely disappointed, but it just set the stage for a dramatic ninth inning.

Ken Singleton led off with a walk, but Paul Blair failed to bunt him over. Dave Duncan singled, and Brooks Robinson pinch hit for Tim Nordbrook. After a Kravec wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, he was replaced mid-batter by reliever Francisco Barrios. Barrios completed a walk of Brooks to load the bases. Now the chess match between Earl Weaver and Chicago manager Paul Richards (the man who helped build the O's in the 1950s) began in earnest. Barrios was relieved by Terry Forster, and Earl pinch hit for his DH and leadoff hitter Tommy Harper. The man he called upon was none other than Reggie Jackson; as pinch hitters go, that's a good one to have in your back pocket. Wouldn't you know it, Reggie belted a grand slam to straightaway center field. 6-2, Orioles.

Palmer finished off the Southsiders in order in the home half of the ninth to seal his 17th win. For the game, he walked three, struck out three, and allowed just three hits - a single in the first inning and two more in the eighth. I'm also going to wager a guess that it was the only win in his career made possible by back-to-back pinch hit appearances by future Hall of Famers.

I "discovered" this game through a post by Steve at White Sox Cards. The great thing about Steve's post is that he found a YouTube video featuring five and one-half minutes of home movie footage taken at the game. Much of it is crowd shots, stadium shots, players warming up, and the like. However, there is some game footage. If you skip ahead to about the 3:45 mark, you can see Reggie's heroics. Thanks for the tip, Steve!

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