Together We Were Eleven Foot Nine
In this speech, based on his book recounting his 20-year friendship with Orioles manager Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer shares the idea that ultimately teamwork and the mutual will to win are the keys to success on and off the field.
A powerful persona in the sports field, Jim Palmer maintains a strong presence off the playing field as well as through a variety of business, charity and personal interests. Regarded by news reporters and television broadcasters as the “perfect gentleman,” Jim personifies integrity, perseverance and excellence.
The most successful and best-known pitcher in Baltimore Orioles history, Jim was born October 14, 1945 in New York. He was adopted at birth and his adoptive father passed away when he was only nine years old. Shortly thereafter, his mother moved the family from New York to California. In 1960 she remarried and the family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona where Jim attended high school.
He was a tremendous athlete in school and earned All-State honors in three different sports (baseball, football and basketball). On the diamond, he was a slugger with a .483 batting average. On the gridiron, he had a four-touchdown reception performance and on the hardwood, he averaged 25 points a game to lead the state of Arizona in scoring his senior year. Although offered a scholarship to UCLA to play basketball, Jim signed with the Baltimore Orioles in 1963 as a free agent.
In 1966, Palmer became the youngest player ever to pitch a shutout in the World Series. He is also recognized as being the only pitcher in history to win a World Series game in three different decades. During his 20-year career, spent entirely with Baltimore, Palmer recorded 268 ‘wins’, a .638 winning percentage, eight 20-win seasons, and a 2.86 earned run average. He pitched his entire career without ever allowing a grand slam, was a six time American League All Star, and was a three time Cy Young Award winner, joining Sandy Koufax, Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, Roger Clemens, and Greg Maddux as the only pitchers to have won the award that many times. He set numerous club records including wins, complete games, strikeouts, walks and shutouts.
Elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990, his first year of eligibility, he received 92.6% of the 444 ballots cast by eligible members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Of the eight pitchers elected in their first year of eligibility, he received the third highest percentage of votes.
Jim retired from the Orioles in 1984 but "retirement", in the true sense, was not one of the options he considered. He began building a very successful career as a broadcaster for ABC, ESPN, HTS, and local Baltimore stations and has been highly acclaimed by viewers for being “bright, opinionated, articulate”, “having a sense of humor”, and a “tenacious memory” for the details of the game. He continues his role as the “voice of the Orioles”, as the analyst for O’s TV broadcasts on the team’s television network and on Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN). He has been with the team for 45 years.
In 1990, Jim received a cable ACE award nomination for his work as an expert analyst on ESPN. Additionally that year, he received the William A. (Bill) Shea Distinguished Little League Graduate Award for “exemplifying the true spirit of Little League Baseball and serving as a positive role model and inspiration to millions of aspiring Little Leaguers.” In 1994, Palmer was inducted into the Little League Baseball Hall of Excellence.
Jim has been a spokesperson for a number of advertising campaigns and public relations programs, given speeches for a wide variety of companies, associations, and charitable organizations, as well as hosted and served as representative in a number of corporate settings. He has also served for more than twenty years as the regional sports chairman for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Among his best-known corporate work, he was as a “pitchman” for Jockey International, where he enjoyed an almost twenty year relationship; with The Money Store (Wachovia Bank) for twelve years; and with Nutramax Labs (for their product Cosamin DS) for eleven years. Jim was chosen for these roles due to his credibility, positive image and dynamic appeal to new and existing customers alike; he’s equally popular among men and women. He continues to broadcast more than 80 games each year for the Baltimore Orioles and represents several other firms in marketing roles.
Jim is also known as an author having published The Palmer Way To Fitness (1985), Jim Palmer’s 22- Minute Total Workout (1995) and, along with his former manager Earl Weaver, Together We’re Eleven Foot Nine (1996).
In contrast to his celebrity status, Jim is a quiet, determined, goal oriented, and unassuming person. When he is not traveling, broadcasting or appearing as a keynote or motivational speaker, he enjoys golfing, gardening, tennis, racquetball, biking, and skiing.