Jim Palmer joined the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network by telephone Wednesday evening, offering an update for Orioles fans on the Hall of Fame pitcher’s battle with COVID that he said has kept him in the hospital.

During Wednesday’s telecast of Baltimore’s game against the San Diego Padres, Palmer said he’s been in the hospital for “about five days” and will require “one more test to definitely decide how they’re going to treat it.”

“But I’m feeling a lot better,” Palmer, 77, said. “A lot of well wishes, and I really appreciate that.”

Palmer announced on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, last week that he was diagnosed with COVID and was at home. At the time, Palmer wrote on X that it had “hit me hard!” Palmer updated over the weekend that the Orioles medical staff and Johns Hopkins doctors and nurses are “Life savers.”

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“Covid is the real deal,” Palmer wrote. “Go O’s.”

But even COVID hasn’t kept Palmer from watching his ballclub, which he played for from 1965 to 1984. In that span, Palmer won three Cy Young Awards and helped lead Baltimore to three World Series titles. He was part of this month’s celebration of the 1983 championship at Camden Yards, during which members of that team gathered at Oriole Park to enjoy a luncheon and a luxury box for that night’s game.

“I guess I got COVID,” Palmer said, noting that this is the first time he’s dealt with the virus.

“While you’re in California, I’m in Baltimore,” Palmer told the MASN broadcast booth, which included analyst Ben McDonald and play-by-play announcer Kevin Brown. “I’m hoping to escape. It’s going to be a jailbreak if I don’t get out of here.”

Wednesday marked the 60th anniversary of when Palmer signed with the Orioles, turning down a scholarship offer to play basketball at UCLA in favor of a professional baseball career.

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As Palmer was on air, catcher Adley Rutschman hit a double, further breaking out after entering Wednesday’s game on a 1-for-22 streak. Palmer noted that to Brown, saying that since Brown pulled out that stat, Rutschman was 2-for-2.

“See, you’re breaking down the game from the other side of the country,” Brown said. “That’s why we love you.”

“You try being in a hospital for about five days,” Palmer quipped.

McDonald, who also pitched for Baltimore during his playing career, asked whether Palmer had anyone with him to watch the Orioles games in the hospital, to which Palmer replied he didn’t.

“I figured you might’ve had a lot of people around,” McDonald said.

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“Ben,” Palmer deadpanned, “I have COVID.”

“That’s true. That’s true,” McDonald said. “Maybe they can watch through the window.”

Instead, Palmer is alone with his phone and iPad. But he’s still watching games.


Andy Kostka is an Orioles beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Orioles for The Baltimore Sun. Kostka graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Rockville.

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