September 15th, 2012

September 15 – Happy Birthday Gaylord Perry

Gaylord Perry turns 72-years-old today. He and his older brother Jim were born in Williamston, NC. Their Dad was a farmer but he was also a semi-pro baseball player so when his two sons weren’t helping him plow fields, he made sure they were playing ball. It really didn’t matter what kind of ball they played because the Perry boys were good at football basketball and especially baseball.  In fact, with the two of them alternating between the mound and third base when the other was pitching, their high school team won a state championship. During one stretch, the brothers threw nine consecutive shutouts that season. Even though Gaylord had numerous scholarship offers to play college basketball, he followed his brother into baseball and when the Giants gave him a $60,000 bonus to sign with their organization in 1958, Gaylord gave half of it to his Dad. The rest his history.

Perry went on to win 318 games during a 22-season big league career that began with ten years in San Fancisco and ended with 12 years of nomadic pitching for six different organizations. He won 20 games for thee different teams and he was the AL Cy Young Award winner for the Indians in 1972 and the NL Cy Young Award winner eight seasons later, with the Padres. The story line of Perry’s career was always underscored by rumors that he threw a spitball. In fact, Perry even wrote a book while he was still pitching in which he confessed to throwing the doctored pitch early in his career but had since stopped doing so. Many baseball pundits felt Perry’s admission was part of a masterful con game to unsettle and distract opposing lineups.

In August of 1980 the Yankees were locked in a close pennant race with the Orioles and they traded pitcher Ken Clay to the Texas Rangers for Perry. The Yankees won that pennant but without much help from Gaylord. He went 4-4 for New York down the stretch and Yankee manager Dick Howser did not use him in the postseason. Perry signed to play with Atlanta the following year. His short stay in the Big Apple did make Perry one of the four 300-game-winning-pitchers to wear Yankee pinstripes. The other three one-time Yankee hurlers who accomplished the feat are Phil Niekro, Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson.

Jim Perry ended up winning 215 games during a 17 year career which gave the Perry brothers 533 big league wins between them. The record for lifetime sibling victories however, is held by Phil and Joe Niekro, who won 539 games during their combined careers.

Gaylord shares his birthday with this former Yankee third baseman and this long-ago Highlander pitcher.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1980 NYY 4 4 .500 4.44 10 8 2 0 0 0 50.2 65 33 25 2 18 28 1.638
22 Yrs 314 265 .542 3.11 777 690 33 303 53 11 5350.0 4938 2128 1846 399 1379 3534 1.181
SFG (10 yrs) 134 109 .551 2.96 367 283 30 125 21 10 2294.1 2061 892 755 165 581 1606 1.152
TEX (4 yrs) 48 43 .527 3.26 112 112 0 55 12 0 827.1 787 345 300 59 190 575 1.181
CLE (4 yrs) 70 57 .551 2.71 134 133 1 96 17 1 1130.2 918 377 340 92 330 773 1.104
SDP (2 yrs) 33 17 .660 2.88 69 69 0 15 2 0 493.1 466 186 158 21 133 294 1.214
SEA (2 yrs) 13 22 .371 4.58 48 48 0 8 0 0 318.2 361 177 162 45 77 158 1.374
KCR (1 yr) 4 4 .500 4.27 14 14 0 1 1 0 84.1 98 48 40 6 26 40 1.470
ATL (1 yr) 8 9 .471 3.94 23 23 0 3 0 0 150.2 182 70 66 9 24 60 1.367
NYY (1 yr) 4 4 .500 4.44 10 8 2 0 0 0 50.2 65 33 25 2 18 28 1.638
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/21/2013.