MLB: Gaylord Perry dies at 84

GAFFNEY, SC — Baseball Hall of Famer and two-time Cy-Young Award winner Gaylord Perry died at the age of 84 on Thursday.

Perry died Thursday morning at his home in Gaffney, Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said. He did not provide any additional details.

Perry’s family said in a statement that he « passed away peacefully at home following a short illness. »

A native of Williamston, North Carolina, Perry made history by becoming the first player to win the Cy-Young Trophy in both leagues. He first received the award with the Cleveland Indians in 1972 and then with the San Diego Padres in 1978, just after celebrating his 40th birthday.

“Before winning my second Cy-Young trophy, I thought I was too old. I didn’t think the reporters were going to vote for me, Perry said in an article posted on the Baseball Hall of Fame website. They voted for the performance and I won. »

« Gaylord Perry was a constant workaholic and a memorable individual during his Hall of Fame career, » Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. He will be remembered as one of the most accomplished San Francisco Giants players in history and he remained a popular teammate and friend during his lifetime. »

Perry was drafted by the San Francisco Giants and spent 10 seasons with legendary teammates, including Hall of Famer Willie Mays. Mays said Thursday that Perry « was a good man, a good baseball player and a good friend. »

Juan Marichal remembered Perry as « smart, funny, and kind to everyone in the shelter. When he spoke, you listened.

« In our 10 seasons together in the Giants rotation, we’ve completed 369 games, more than any pair of Major League teammates, » Marichal said. I will always remember Gaylord for his love and dedication to baseball, his family and his farm. »

Perry, who played for eight Major League Baseball teams between 1962 and 1983, was a five-time All-Star selection and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.

Perry showed a career record of 314-255, with 3,534 strikeouts. He used a style in which he tampered with balls or tricked batters into thinking he was tampering with them.

The Baseball Hall of Fame said in a statement that Perry was « one of the best pitchers of his generation. » The Texas Rangers, for whom Perry played twice, added that the pitcher was « a fierce competitor every time he went to the mound and more often than not he gave the Rangers an opportunity to win. the game « .

Perry’s 1974 autobiography was titled « Me and the Spitter » and stated that when he joined the Giants organization in 1962 he was « the 11th man on a pitching staff. of 11 men. He needed an advantage and he learned spitball from Giants teammate Bob Shaw.

Perry said he first made the pitch in May 1964 against the New York Mets. He automatically went 10 innings without giving up a run and soon after was added to the Giants’ starting rotation.

Perry also wrote in the book that he chewed slippery elm bark to build up his saliva, and finally stopped making the shot in 1968, after Major League Baseball ruled that pitchers could no longer put their fingers to their mouth before touching the ball.

According to his book, he looked for other substances, like petroleum jelly, to tamper with the bullets. He used various moves and routines to touch different parts of his jersey and body to trick batters into thinking he was applying a foreign substance.

Orlando Cepeda, Perry’s teammate with the Giants, expressed that he had « a really great sense of humor, a really nice personality, and he was my baseball brother. »

Perry has only been ejected from a game once for tampering with a ball, in August 1982 while playing for the Seattle Mariners.

At the end of his career, Perry founded a baseball program at Limestone College, Gaffney, and served as manager for the first three years.

Perry is survived by his wife Deborah and three of their four children.

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