This summer the Baltimore Orioles have been hosting the Orioles Legends Celebration Series. At certain games throughout the season they paid homage to a great (or legendary) Baltimore Oriole of the past. Recently it was Jim Palmer’s turn. The Hall of Fame pitcher had a statue dedicated in his honor and speeches were made detailing his awesomeness. I actually saw Jim Palmer at my gym a few years ago and it was clear that he’s still in top notch shape. Like, wow. Among his many accolades and honors and awards, let’s not forget that Jim Palmer was also the first pro athlete to star in an underwear ad. Jockey, to be exact.
I was pretty young when this ad came out but I still remember the furor it caused. These days it’s hard to imagine this ad as scandalous but it was a BIG DEAL. This and the Burt Reynolds Cosmo centerfold were probably the biggest (and hairiest) images in the pop culture of the 70′s. Well, of men, anyway.
I don’t know why it took so long for the two worlds to meld. On the one hand you have professional athletes who by their very nature tend to look good in underwear and on the other hand you have underwear companies who want someone to make those tighty whities look like something special. It’s a match made in heaven.
These days ads abound with professional athletes posing for Armani, Jockey, Speedo and probably others my more fashion conscious Gen*HER comrades would be able to name. Here are some of my current favorites:
Yeah, I didn’t know there was a Philippine rugby team either. I sure do now…
So thank you, Jim Palmer. Not only because I’m a super Orioles fan but because you blazed the trail for super fit world class athletes to pose in their underwear. Your actions have brought joy to the lives of many.