Gaylord Perry: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gaylord Perry

Born: September 15, 1938 (1938-09-15) (age 71)
Williamston, North Carolina
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
April 14, 1962 for the San Francisco Giants
Last MLB appearance
October 2, 1983 for the Kansas City Royals
Career statistics
Win–Loss record     314–265
Earned run average     3.11
Strikeouts     3,534
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction     1991
Vote     77.2%

Gaylord Jackson Perry (born September 15, 1938 in Williamston, North Carolina) is a former right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991, Perry won 314 games over a 22-year career starting in 1962.

Perry, a five-time All-Star, was the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in each league, winning it in the American League in 1972 with the Cleveland Indians and in the National League in 1978 with the San Diego Padres. He is also distinguished, along with his brother Jim, for being the second-winningest brother combination in baseball history—second only to the knuckleballing Niekro brothers, Phil and Joe.[1] While pitching for the Seattle Mariners in 1982, Perry became the fifteenth member of the 300 win club.

Despite Perry's notoriety for doctoring baseballs (throwing a spitball), and perhaps even more so for making batters think he was throwing them on a regular basis – he even went so far as to title his 1974 autobiography Me and the Spitter[2] – he was not ejected for the illegal practice until August 23, 1982, in his 21st season in the majors.

Like most pitchers, Perry was not renowned for his hitting ability, and in his sophomore season of 1963, he is said to have joked, "They'll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run." Other variants on the story say that someone else said it about him, but either way, on July 20, 1969, just minutes after the Apollo 11 spacecraft carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon, Perry hit the first home run of his career.[3]


Early life

Gaylord Perry was named after a close friend of his father's, who died while having his teeth pulled.[4]

Pitching style

Perry claims he was taught the spitball in 1964 by pitcher Bob Shaw. Perry had a reputation throughout his career for doctoring baseballs, and was inspected on the mound by umpires and monitored closely by opposing teams.[5] On August 20, 1982, he was ejected from a game against the Boston Red Sox for doctoring the ball, and given a 10-day suspension.

Perry reportedly approached the makers of Vaseline about endorsing the product and was allegedly rebuffed with a one-line postcard reading, "We soothe babies' backsides, not baseballs." Former Manager Gene Mauch famously quipped "He should be in the Hall of Fame with a tube of K-Y Jelly attached to his plaque."[6]

Gene Tenace, who caught Gaylord Perry when they played for the San Diego Padres, said: "I can remember a couple of occasions when I couldn't throw the ball back to him because it was so greasy that it slipped out of my hands. I just walked out to the mound and flipped the ball back to him."[7]

Perry used his reputation to psyche out the hitters as well. As he looked in to his catcher for the pitch selection, Perry would touch various parts of his head, such as his eyebrows and his cap. In this manner, he may or may not have been applying a foreign substance to the ball on any particular pitch. Reggie Jackson was so upset after striking out against Perry one time that Jackson was ejected from the game. Jackson returned from the dugout with a container of Gatorade, splashing Gatorade onto the field while yelling at the umpire that Perry should be allowed to use the Gatorade on the baseball.

Professional career

Minor leagues

Perry was signed by the San Francisco Giants on June 3, 1958 for $90,000, which was a big contract at the time. He spent 1958 with the St. Cloud, Minnesota team in Class A Northern League, compiling a 9–5 record and a 2.39 ERA. In 1959 he was promoted to the Class AA Corpus Christi Giants, where he posted a less impressive 10–11 record and 4.05 ERA. He remained with the team as they became the Rio Grande Valley Giants in 1960, and an improved ERA of 2.82 earned him a promotion to the Class AAA Tacoma Rainiers for the 1961 season. At Tacoma, he lead the Pacific Coast League in wins and inning pitched in 1961.[8]

He had a brief call-up to the Major Leagues in 1962, making his debut on April 14 against the Cincinnati Reds. He appeared in 13 games in 1962, but had a high 5.23 ERA and was sent back down to Tacoma for the remainder of the year.[8] With the addition of Perry, Bill James called that 1962 Tacoma squad, which featured numerous future major league players, the best minor league lineup of the 1960s.[4]

San Francisco Giants (1962–71)

After his brief call-up in 1962, Perry joined the Giants in 1963 to work mostly as a relief pitcher that year, posting a mediocre 4.03 ERA in 31 appearances. Nevertheless, in 1964 he was given the opportunity to join the starting rotation, finishing with a 2.75 ERA and a 12–11 record, both second best for the Giants that year behind Juan Marichal. In 1965 his record was 8–12, and with two full seasons as a starter, his 24–30 record attracted little national attention.[8]

Perry's breakout season came in 1966 with a tremendous start, going 20–2 into August. Perry and Marichal became known as a "1–2 punch" to rival the famous Koufax/Drysdale combination of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Perry played in his first All-Star game, but after August, he slumped the rest of the season, finishing 21–8, and the Giants finished second to the Dodgers. Marichal missed much of the 1967 season with a leg injury, and Perry was thrust into the role of team ace. While he finished the season with a disappointing 15–17 record, he had a low ERA and allowed only 7 hits per 9 innings pitched.[9]

At Candlestick Park on September 17, 1968, two days after his 30th birthday, Perry, pitched a 1–0 no-hitter over the St. Louis Cardinals and Bob Gibson. The game's lone run came on a first-inning home run by light-hitting Ron Hunt—his second and final home run of the season. The very next day, the Cardinals returned the favor on the Giants on a 2–0 no-hitter by Ray Washburn—the first time in Major League history that back-to-back no-hitters had been pitched in the same series.[9]

In 1969, Perry led the league in innings pitched, but the Giants finished second in the pennant race for the fifth straight season. Perry took over as the Giants' ace in 1970, and lead the league both in wins (23) and innings pitched (328). Perry's strong 1970 performance salvaged the Giants season, helping them finish above .500 but in third place. In 1971, the Giants finally won their division, with Perry posting a 2.76 ERA. In what would be his only two postseason appearances, Perry won one game and lost the other against the Pittsburgh Pirates.[10]

Jersey Retired by San Francisco Giants;
GiantsGaylord Perry.png:
Gaylord Perry: P, 1962–71

Cleveland Indians (1972–75)

Before the 1972 season, the Giants traded the then 32-year-old Perry and shortstop Frank Duffy for 28-year-old flamethrower Sam McDowell. After that trade Perry went on to win 180 more games in his career while McDowell won only 24 more.

Perry went 24–16 in 1972 with a 1.92 ERA and 1 save, winning his first Cy Young award. He stood as the only Cy Young winner for Cleveland until 2007 (CC Sabathia). Perry continued as Cleveland's staff ace until 1975. He went 70–57 during his time in Cleveland, but the team never finished above 4th place. Perry accounted for 39% of all Cleveland wins during his tenure. Tensions between him and player-manager Frank Robinson led to Perry's trade to Texas in June 1975. Gaylord Perry remained as Cleveland's last 20-game winner (21 wins in 1974), until Cliff Lee in 2008.

Texas Rangers (1975–77)

On June 13, 1975, at the start of a three-game series with the Texas Rangers, the Indians traded Perry to the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Jim Bibby, Jackie Brown, and Rick Waits. Perry would win nearly 80 more games in his career than the three combined. With the Rangers, Perry formed a one-two punch with Fergie Jenkins, with Perry earning 12 wins, and Jenkins 11, during the remainder of 1975. However, the Rangers, who had finished 2nd in the AL West in 1974, slipped to 3rd place that year.

The next year, with Jenkins moving to Boston, the 37-year-old Perry became the staff ace, winning 15 games against 14 defeats. The Rangers, however, slipped to 4th place in the AL West. But then, in 1977, the Rangers surged to 2nd place in the AL West, winning 94 games, a total that the franchise would not surpass until 1999. Perry again won 15 games, this time against only 12 defeats, in a rotation that included double-digit winners Doyle Alexander, Bert Blyleven, and Dock Ellis.

San Diego Padres (1978–79)

Before the 1978 season San Diego acquired Perry from Texas in exchange for middle reliever Dave Tomlin and $125,000. The 39-year old Perry wound up winning the Cy Young Award going 21–6 for San Diego while the 29-year-old Tomlin never pitched for Texas and pitched barely 150 innings the rest of his career. Perry's 21 wins in 1978 accounted for 25% of the club's victories all year long, and he became the first pitcher to win Cy Young awards in both leagues. In this season he became the third pitcher to strike out 3,000 batters, accomplishing the feat two weeks after his 40th birthday.[11]

In 1979, Perry posted a 4.05 ERA and an 12–11 record before quitting the team on September 5, saying he would retire unless the club traded him back to Texas.[12] The Padres traded Perry to the Texas Rangers on February 15, 1980.[11]

Texas Rangers/New York Yankees (1980)

In 1980, Perry posted a 6–9 record and 3.43 ERA in 24 games with Texas before being traded to the Yankees on August 13, 1980 for minor leaguers Ken Clay and a player to be named later (Marvin Thompson).[13] Many Yankees players had complained about Perry during his stints with the Rangers, and the club even used a special camera team to monitor his movements during one of his starts at Yankee Stadium.[14] Perry finished the season with a 4–4 record for the Yankees.[15]

Atlanta Braves (1981)

Perry's contract was up after the 1980 season and he signed a one-year, $300,000 contract with the Atlanta Braves.[16] During the strike-shortened 1981 season, Perry, the oldest player at the time in Major League baseball, started 23 games (150.7 innings) and had a 8–9 record.[15] The Braves released Perry after the season, leaving him three victories short of 300.[5]

Seattle Mariners/Kansas City Royals (1982–83)

After being released by the Braves, Perry was unable to find interest from any clubs, and missed his first spring training in 23 years.[5]

He eventually signed with the Seattle Mariners, where he acquired the nickname "Ancient Mariner",[17] and won his 300th game on May 6, 1982, the first pitcher to win 300 since Early Wynn did so in 1963. On August 23 of that year, he was ejected from a game against the Boston Red Sox for doctoring the ball, and given a 10-day suspension. It was the second time Perry had been ejected in his entire career, and it was his first ejection for ball doctoring.[7]

After starting the 1983 season 3–10, Perry was designated for assignment by Seattle on June 26 and the Kansas City Royals picked him on a waiver claim 10 days later.[18] In August, Perry became the third pitcher in history to record 3,500 strikeouts.[19] In the final months of the season, Perry experimented with a submarine delivery for the first time in his career and took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the first-place Baltimore Orioles on August 19.[20]

In 1983, he became the third pitcher in the same year to surpass longtime strikeout king Walter Johnson's record of 3,509 strikeouts. Steve Carlton and Nolan Ryan were the others.

He announced his retirement on September 23, 1983.

Post-playing career

Perry retired in 1983 after pitching for eight teams (the San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers (twice), San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals). It was during his time with Seattle that he kicked noted Second City actor Jim Zulevic out of a late night party in a Chicago hotel.

Perry retired to his 500-acre (2.0 km2) farm in Martin County, North Carolina where he grew tobacco and peanuts, but had to file for bankruptcy in 1986. He briefly worked for Fiesta Foods as a sales manager,[21] and later in the year Limestone College in Gaffney, South Carolina chose Perry to be the College’s first baseball coach. Perry was there until 1991 when he retired.[22]

Despite his admission of illegal pitches he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991 and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. In 1999 The Sporting News ranked him 97th on their list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players.

Perry supported the Republican Party, campaigned for Jesse Helms and contemplated a bid for Congress himself in 1986.[23]

On July 23 2005 the San Francisco Giants retired Perry's uniform number 36.[24]

Perry was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame on March 9, 2009. [25]


Due the number of Games Perry lost (265) and lack of postseason glory, the Washington Post called Perry's bid for the Hall of Fame "dubious".[26] Bill James lists Perry as having the 10th best career of any right-handed starting pitcher, and the 50th greatest player at any position.[27] In 1999, The Sporting News placed Perry at number 97 on its list of "The 100 Greatest Baseball Players."[28]

Pitching statistics

Perry is one of four pitchers to win the Cy Young Award in both the American and National League (Pedro Martínez, Roger Clemens, & Randy Johnson being the others). He held the record for most consecutive 15-win seasons since 1900 with 13 (1966–1978) and was 2nd all-time to Cy Young, who had 15 (1891–1905). Greg Maddux surpassed both men, with 17 in a row (1988–2004).

Personal life

Perry's wife, Blanche Manning Perry, died on September 11, 1987 when another car ran a stop sign and hit her car broadside on U.S. Route 27 in Lake Wales, Florida.[29]

His nephew, Chris, is a professional golfer who has won a tournament on the PGA Tour.

See also


  1. ^ Light, Jonathon (2005). "Perry, Gaylord". The Culturial Encyclopedia of Baseball. pp. 699. 
  2. ^ Gaylord Perry, Me and the Spitter, co-authored with Cleveland baseball newspaper writer Bob Sudyk, ISBN 0841502994
  3. ^ On the validity of the man on the moon comment
  4. ^ a b James, Bill (2001). The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. Simon & Schuster. 
  5. ^ a b c Berkow, Ira (1982-03-01). "Gaylord Perry: The Lonely Quest For Victory No. 300". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Saracena, Joe (2003-06-19). "Clemens should save pitches for mound, not Hall of Fame". USA Today. 
  7. ^ a b "SPORTS PEOPLE; More on the Perry Case". The New York Times. 1982-08-26. 
  8. ^ a b c MacKay, Joe (2003). The Great Shutout Pitchers: Twenty Profiles of a Vanishing Breed. McFarland & Company. pp. 177–178. ISBN 0786416769. 
  9. ^ a b MacKay, 179
  10. ^ MacKay, 180
  11. ^ a b Naiman, Joe and Porter, David (2003). "Gaylord Perry". The San Diego Padres Encyclopedia. Sports Publishing LLC. pp. 296. 
  12. ^ "Gaylord Perry leaves Padres". The Globe and Mail. 1979-09-06. 
  13. ^ "Yanks Lose To White Sox, 4–1; Perry Obtained From Rangers". The New York Times. 1980-08-13. 
  14. ^ Gross, Jane (1980-08-15). "Yanks Greet Perry, A Venerable Newcomer". The New York Times. 
  15. ^ a b "Gaylord Perry statistics". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 2008-04-20. 
  16. ^ 1981-01-08. "Agreement With Perry, 42, Is Confirmed by Braves". Associated Press. 
  17. ^ "SPORTS PEOPLE; Quest for No.300". The New York Times. 1982-04-30. pp. 31A. 
  18. ^ "Baseball Roundup". The Globe and Mail. 1983-07-06. 
  19. ^ "Perry Ends His Career After 21 Years, 314 Wins". The Washington Post. 1983-09-23. 
  20. ^ Boswell, Thomas (1983-10-01). "Three Great Careers Ending, and an Era". The Washington Post. 
  21. ^ Trott, William C. (1986-08-18). "FROM BASEBALL TO BANKRUPTCY". United Press International. 
  22. ^ Limestone College | Template
  23. ^ ""You can't eat and farm too" – Gaylord Perry". United Press International. 1986-08-13. 
  24. ^ "Padres Acquire Randa From the Reds". The Washington Post. 2005-07-24. 
  25. ^ "Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame Inductions". San Francisco Chronicle. 2009-03-10. 
  26. ^ Boswell, Thomas (1985-08-27). "To Combat the New Era of Statistics Inflation, Baseball Needs a New Barometer". The Washington Post. 
  27. ^ James, p.426, 448–9
  28. ^ "TSN Presents – Baseball's 100 Greatest Players". Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  29. ^ "Wife of Gaylord Perry killed in wreck". Associated Press. 1987-09-11. 

External links

Preceded by
Floyd Bannister
Opening Day starting pitcher
for the Seattle Mariners

Succeeded by
Mike Moore
Preceded by
Juan Marichal
Major League Player of the Month
June, 1966
Succeeded by
Mike Shannon
Preceded by
Tom Seaver
Steve Carlton
National League Wins Champion
1970 (with Bob Gibson)
Succeeded by
Ferguson Jenkins
Joe Niekro & Phil Niekro
Preceded by
Mickey Lolich
American League Wins Champion
(with Wilbur Wood)
Succeeded by
Wilbur Wood
Preceded by
Vida Blue
American League Cy Young Award
Succeeded by
Jim Palmer
Preceded by
Steve Carlton
National League Cy Young Award
Succeeded by
Bruce Sutter

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