Ah, the joy of it all, listening to this conversation between two of MLB’s most renowned Hall of Fame pitchers, former rivals and good friends: Jim Palmer and Dennis Eckersley.
These two-faced one another in opposing uniforms between 1975 and 1984. Both would enter Baseball’s Hall of Fame; and the competitiveness that got them there can be heard in this edition of the SPORTS RIVALS.
Palmer pitched for the Orioles, and only the Orioles, from 1965-1984. His extraordinary career includes three Cy Young Awards, six World Series appearances, three World Series rings and a record of 268-152.
To say he was a dominating pitcher would be an understatement. For an amazing eight seasons, he was a 20-game winner, simply unheard of in the modern baseball era.
Jim finished with a 268-152 record, a 2.86 career ERA and entered the Hall of Fame in 1990.
Eckersley spent 24 years pitching in the majors. He began his career as a starter, spending three seasons with the Indians, six plus with the Red Sox and two plus with the Cubs. He then became a preeminent closer with Oakland. Dennis is the only pitcher in MLB history with 100 complete games and 100 saves.
His final career numbers include 197 wins and 390 saves, averaging 44 saves per season between 1988 and 1992.
As a closer in 1992, he was both the Cy Young Award winner and the league MVP with a 7-1 record, 51 saves and a 1.91 ERA. He was a control master who in the last ten years of his career walked just 86 in 600+ innings.
Dennis entered the Hall of Fame in 2004.
These are two gregarious masters of pitching. They are friends who love to talk the game, their careers and their relationship.
From a broadcast perspective, both maintain a connection with today’s game. Eckersley has been part of the Red Sox telecasts since 2003, working both in the studio and as an an analyst, filling in for Jerry Remy. Eck has also done national work for TBS.
Palmer is a noted broadcaster, a member of the Orioles’ telecast team since 1984. In other words, as a player and commentator, Palmer has been a member of the Orioles’ family for 55 years. He was also the analyst on ABC’s baseball telecasts, including covering five World Series, four in the 1980s and in 1995. His prime partner was Al Michaels.
Here is the story of how they first became aware of one another as opposing pitchers, their memories of head-to-head games on the mound and their appreciation for one another as pitchers and friends.
You get to drop in on this conversation right now.