Sunday, February 12, 2012

Familiar Looking Cardboard: Paul Palmer

Since blogging is, itself, an extension of storytelling combined with journalism, I figured I'd begin a new blog series that's basically just storytelling. It is not a new idea to blog about baseball and football players you've met- matter of fact, Night Owl had this feature early on in his blogging days (Brush with Greatness). But since I've met quite a few former baseball and football players, all of whom have appeared on cardboard at least once, I figured I had to showcase them somehow.

Unless you're a diehard Chiefs fan, a diehard Temple fan, or a follower of football from the late 1980's, you may not have heard of the man above. He had an insignificant 3 year Pro Football career, playing for the Chiefs, as well as the Cowboys and Lions. However, for four years he was one of the best college football players in the country. And my dad happened to write numerous articles about him.

Paul Palmer was a Temple Football superstar in the late 1980's. My Dad, then an editor for the school newspaper, did a lot of his reporting on Palmer, and lived downstairs from him. Back then Palmer was larger than life, and one of the best backs in the nation. At the end of the 1986- 87 football season, in which Temple had played mediocre but Palmer had excelled, my father accompanied Palmer to the Heisman Trophy Ceremony.

Everyone was hoping Paul would win- hell, most people at Temple University knew it. However, Palmer finished second in the voting, to Vinny Testaverde. And the masses spoke in one solidified voice: Paul Palmer was robbed.

After this, Palmer was drafted 19th by the Chiefs in the 1987 draft, picked after players like Testaverde, Rod Woodson, Cornelius Bennett and Chris Miller. After a decent rookie season, his stats fell and spent his last season with the Cowboyd and Lions. However, his one saving grace during his last season is scoring the game winning touchdown during the only game the Cowboys actually won in 1989. After the 89 season, Palmer left the league.

However, the story doesn't end there. You see a few years ago my father joined a local softball team during the spring, just to start playing again. A few other guys he knew were on the team, and they were playing for the same reason. He also had one other teammate. Paul Palmer.

On more than one occasion, my dad asked me to keep score for their team, and would spend the game on the bench, sitting next to the players, as the game went on. During this experience I met Paul (who was a pretty good centerfielder), and watched as him and my dad exchanged conversation. After that season, my dad left the softball team. From what I've heard, Palmer is the football coach at a local high school. I hope he's enjoying his job.

So that's all for this first edition. Paul Palmer isn't a huge superstar, but he's a good friend of my dad's, and he was a great college player. As a matter of fact, there are only four numbers retired by Temple's Football Team. And Paul's number is one of them. That alone shows his impact on Temple, on my dad, and on me.

I don't know when I'll get around to doing another one of these, but when I do, it'll probably feature a former Raiders player who also has ties to my father (and me).

1 comment:

  1. I'm old enough to remember but I've never much followed college sports. Good small world story, though.