1945
MIKE PALM   P

Mike Palm is one of the relatively few Red Sox players to have been born in the city of Boston. Richard Paul Palm’s date of birth was February 13, 1925. After moving to Belmont, MA, he picked up his nickname in high school, where Belmont High’s baseball coach was Myron “Mike” Palm, a former Penn State athlete who started calling his own  prospect “Mike.” 

Mike’s family lived in Jamaica Plain and moved to Watertown, and it was in junior high school that he first became a ballplayer. Palm was signed by the Red Sox while still in high school. The family later moved to Belmont after Palm finished ninth grade. Often striking out as many as 18 batters a game, he earned an invitation to one of the school prospects tryouts. He signed with the Red Sox in 1943. 

Assigned to Allentown in the Inter-State League after graduation and awaiting induction into the Army, he saw only a couple of weeks of baseball duty. He went off to war with a professional ERA of 18.00.

During World War II, he spent 2 1/2 years in the Army Air Corps serving first at an airport in Casablanca and then in India for six months after the Japanese surrender, forgoing baseball for both 1944 and 1945. He worked doing manual labor, but wound up inspecting the baggage of soldiers transiting through Casablanca on their way home from different fronts. His job was to relieve them of field glasses, pistols, ammunition, and other prohibited items.

Mike spent the next two years in the Piedmont League pitching for Class-B Roanoke. In 1946, he was 13-8 with a 2.56 ERA. The next year, he posted a 14-8 record but his ERA climbed to 3.65. Beginning with Birmingham in 1948, he posted an identical record of 14-8 at Double A, but had improved considerably. He was leading the Southern League in ERA at 2.20, both as a starter and a reliever, when he got a midseason call to report to the big-league club in Boston. His first appearance came on July 11, 1948, in Philadelphia. He relieved Mickey Harris with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, and surrendered three hits before closing out the inning.

The last time Mike pitched in the major leagues was in yet another twin bill, a day/night doubleheader against the White Sox at Fenway Park on July 20th. He allowed two hits and walked two in 1 1/3 innings, giving up one run. He didn’t pitch again for the Red Sox, other than throw a little batting practice to Ted Williams. He was shipped back to Birmingham, to take part in another battle for the pennant. Though he didn’t know it at the time, his major league career was over. He’d thrown a total of three innings in three games, walking five and striking out only one.

In early 1949, the Red Sox cited him as a prospect, but he saw little playing time in spring training and spent two subpar years with Triple-A Louisville in the American Association. Midway during the 1950 season, he was demoted to Double A and after the season, he was traded to the White Sox, effectively sold to Sacramento in the Pacific Coast League.  He spent five years playing ball and figured it was time to go to work.

He ended up selling printing ink. His father was associated with the same company that hired him, and he spent 25 years with that company. He retired and lived with one of his daughters in Scituate, after his wife's death. He remained a Red Sox fan, but didn’t head into games. He was on the Red Sox alumni mailing list, but didn’t take any active role in alumni events.

Mike Palm died on July 24, 2011 at age 86.