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Palmer looking for a second chance

For 10 seasons current Parkview pitching coach David Palmer pitched in the major leagues, including the 1986-1987 season with the Atlanta Braves. Now he hopes his son, John Palmer, can be the next Palmer in the big show.

However the younger Palmer may have passed up his best chance five years ago when he was chosen in the 21st round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Cincinnati Reds after his freshman season at Georgia Perimeter College.

The pitcher chose college instead of a contract.

"I think it was his best chance when he was drafted by the Reds in 2001," said the older Palmer.

"I felt like I could get better and get picked higher," John Palmer said. "Plus they weren't so eager to sign me either."

He pitched one more season at GPC before transferring to the College of Charleston. In his two seasons at GPC the Tucker graduate struck out 115 batters in as many innings.

His decision to hold off on professional baseball seemed to be paying dividends. Palmer was going to school and he was about to test his stuff against Division I competition.

Then disaster struck in the form of injury. He tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm in his fifth appearance for the Cougars.

What followed was Tommy John surgery. Now the father and son not only share their love of pitching but the surgery as well.

"We got the same scar. It looks nice," the younger Palmer said.

After the surgery Palmer took time off from school and baseball to recover. He finished out his senior year at Georgia State in 2005 but his arm was still recovering from the injury.

"I did not have the greatest senior year because (my right arm) was so up and down," he said.

That season his record was 1-4 with a 7.89 ERA in 14 appearances.

There was better success off the field as he graduated with a degree in psychology.

He currently works a full-time job like other recent college graduates.

But in the summer when he is not working, Palmer spends his time pitching and sometimes playing the outfield for the Atlanta Crackers of the Stan Musial League.

He has pitched for the Crackers since 2001. According to Cracker head coach Kevin Meistickle, Palmer had his best season in 2001, when he had a perfect 12-0 record, and has won over 48 games during his Cracker career.

"(Palmer) is one of the best guys I have ever seen," said Meistickle, in his 23rd season as head coach. "This guy can pitch and he is only 23."

Yet despite Meistickle's praise Palmer has not been offered a professional contract.

Palmer throws three pitches - fastball, changeup and curveball - but said that scouts care more about throwing hard than throwing effectively.

"My problem is that I don't throw 94 (mph)," Palmer said.

He has not gone to any MLB tryouts but hopes that Meistickle's connections in the professional game will pan out in a contract.

"I think as long as you are playing someone is going to take notice," Palmer said.

His father hopes so, too.

"If any thing comes of it, it would be great," David Palmer said.