Palmer recalls his Fenway Park home run

BOSTON - Manny Machado's three-run homer in the ninth inning last night did more than break a 5-5 tie. It also put the young third baseman in select company in franchise history.

Machado became only the second Oriole to homer at Fenway Park before his 21st birthday. The first may surprise you.

According to Elias, pitcher Jim Palmer also homered at age 20, which led me to check out the box score on baseball-reference.com and place a call to the Hall of Famer.

Palmer hit a two-run shot off Dave Morehead in the second inning on April 13, 1966, after Frank and Brooks Robinson went back-to-back in the first.

Ah, those were the days.

"They sent him out the next day," Palmer recalled. "He pitched a no-hitter the year before, but he had a bad arm. He hung a curveball and I hit it over the screen."

Davey Johnson was on first base, and Palmer still jokes about his reaction.

"Davey kind of took his secondary lead, and I hit it way over the screen," Palmer said. "It was heading toward the turnpike. Davey tripped. He took off running and was watching it, and he stumbled."

Palmer prided himself on being a decent fastball hitter. He should pride himself on his memory. He brought up Morehead's name and other details before I could do it.

"Morehead just sped up my bat and I clocked it," Palmer said. "The result was they sent him down the next day to whatever their Triple-A facility was back then.

"We always talk about speeding up the bat. He threw a hard curveball. I would always sit on the fastball. I could hit a fastball. And it was just kind of perfect. It's like throwing a hanging slider when a guy is late on the fastball. You see how far it goes. That's how far it went.

"So take that, Manny."

Palmer is still the youngest, with his birthday coming three months after Machado's.

"Yeah," Palmer said, "but his signing bonus is little more substantial than mine was."

I always enjoy checking out the old box scores. Palmer went the distance in an 8-1 victory, though he walked eight batters and threw a wild pitch. Frank Robinson was hit by a pitch and stole second base.

Here's the Orioles' lineup that day:

Luis Aparicio SS
Curt Blefary LF
Frank Robinson RF
Brooks Robinson 3B
Boog Powell 1B
Davey Johnson 2B
Paul Blair CF
Andy Etchebarren C
Jim Palmer RHP

Time of game: 2 hours, 42 minutes.

Ah, those were the days.

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