SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- There's a long list of athletes whose road to greatness started in the Valley of the Sun.

For former Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer, the road to the Hall of Fame started at Scottsdale High School.

[WATCH: Jim Palmer speaks about pitching in his home state of Arizona]

The former two-sport star for the Scottsdale Beavers returned to the Valley this week as the TV analyst with the Orioles.

"The only reason I didn't go to ASU and play basketball and baseball was Bobby Winkles, the coach of ASU," Palmer said. "I didn't lose a lot in high school, 5-6 no-hitters in 10 wins. He said you ought to go up to a college league (for the summer), and I ended up signing with the Orioles. A lot of great memories and it pretty much started -- from a baseball standpoint -- started in Valley of the Sun."

Palmer doesn't recall being as dominant in Little League.  

"I played Babe Ruth League, representing Scottsdale and Phoenix," he said. "We went to Utah.  I think I walked the first seven guys. The next year it was double elimination in Hawaii. I walked 17 and went to center field and hit a three-run home run. I came back on two days rest and lost to a guy who ended up being the 1-2 pitchers in Orioles organization with me."

Palmer's dreams of playing baseball started with a trip to the old Safari Hotel. He and his parents would drop in at the coffee shop and scan the premises for baseball players.  Palmer knew exactly what to look for.

"They wore Banlon shirts, Sansabelt slacks, and alpaca sweaters, and all drove nice cars with out-of-state plates," said Palmer.

He eventually bought an alpaca sweater.

Palmer won three World Series championships, three Cy Young Awards, and was a six-time All-Star. 

Some, however, might know him from his endorsement deal with Jockey underwear.

I asked Palmer what his Instagram would have looked like back in his playing days.

"It helped me send my kids to college," joked the Hall of Famer about the endorsement deal. "My nickname was 'Cakes' because I ate pancakes before every start. So, I'm probably eating pancakes in my underwear."

 


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