Friday, August 10, 2012

Throwing (Through) Smoke: Lowell Palmer

On my final trip to the LCS (a site that rendered much more affordable once the guy told me the prices on the cards were 1/2 of the sticker), I grabbed this cool looking Lowell Palmer card.

Now, I'm not the first guy to make such a discovery. The Fleer Sticker Project has produced the definitive post on this card and all-thing-Lowell-Palmer not once, not twice, but three times. ESPN the Magazine even linked to one of his meditations on this card's awesomeness.

As evidenced by a lifetime K/BB ratio that approaches 1 (239/202) and the fact that he plunked 23 batters in 106 lifetime appearances, Palmer had something of a control problem. Despite what you might think based on the photo this is not, apparently, because Palmer was MLB's first blind pitcher.

I'd like to think the sunglasses point to our own inner fears, in this case Lowell's being all of 21 and finding himself on a mound in the big leagues. Like the nut jobs you see wearing sunglasses at poker tournaments, Lowell's shades try to cover up the fact there are moments when he's scared sh!tless. A deception that all the more points out the state of scared-sh!tlessness. He looks awesome, and that's the point. Behind the awesomeness is a guy who's struggling to get the ball over the plate.

If you've seen the film Bang the Drum Slowly, there's a moment where the pitcher Henry Wiggin tells his catcher Bruce Pearson about how he gets through days when he knows he doesn't have his best stuff. Perason tells Wiggin that Wiggin has a confidence in his own abilities that Person himself lacks. Wiggin responds that's nonsense, on those days "It's pure bullshit gets me through."

Whether it's the fictional Henry Wiggin or the actual Lowell Palmer, there's a lot of truth in that.

Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for linking to my many musings on the awesomeness and enigma that is Lowell Palmer! I really enjoyed reading your take on the significance of Lowell's famous shades.