No pitcher in baseball had a lower ERA during the 1970s than Jim Palmer, who also won three Cy Young Awards during the Me Decade.
Palmer was a 20-game winner eight times, twice doing it four times in a row, and accomplishing it in eight of nine seasons from 1970-1978. A lanky right-hander, Palmer started 35 games or more eight times for the Baltimore Orioles, for whom he pitched his entire Hall of Fame Career.
The pitcher and his manager, Earl Weaver, had a famously contentious personal relationship. Weaver ignore his players for the most part, penciling their name son his scorecard, shifting them like puzzle pieces to win more ballgames than any other manager during his tenure with the O’s. Palmer was a proud and highly intelligent player who was certain that he knew more about pitching than almost anyone else, most of all his skipper. Still, manager and pitcher teamed to help guide the Birds to the post-season six times while they were together in Baltimore.
Palmer started 15 post-season games, seven in the playoffs and eight in the World Series. He posted an 8-3 record with a stingy 2.61 ERA in the post-season, winning World Series titles in three different decades: in 1966, 1970, and 1983.
In his entire 19-year career, Palmer never surrendered a grand slam home run. In fact, lifetime batters hit just .196 with only five doubles and one triple off Palmer with the bases loaded.
In 1991, seven seasons after his last pitch in the big leagues, and a year after earning election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Palmer attempted a comeback with the Baltimore Orioles. He pitched two innings in a spring training game, allowing two runs.
Lowest ERA, 1970-1979
1. †Jim Palmer †… 2.58
2. †Tom Seaver … 2.61
3. †Bert Blyleven … 2.88
4. †Rollie Fingers … 2.89
5. †Gaylord Perry … 2.92
6. †Frank Tanana … 2.93
7. †Andy Messersmith … 2.93
8. †Jon Matlack … 2.97
9. †Mike Marshall … 2.98
10. †Don Wilson … 3.01
(Minimum 1,000 innings pitched)
Longest-Running Five-Man Pitching Staffs in Baseball History
1904-1907†New York Giants (4 years)
Iron Joe McGinnity
1979-1982†Oakland A’s (4 years)
1909-1911†Philadelphia A’s (3 years)
1967-1969†Athletics (3 years)
Blue Moon Odom
1976-1978 Los Angeles Dodgers (3 years)
1979-1981 Baltimore Orioles (3 years)