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The unprecedented demise of 84-year-old Gaylord Perry was confirmed on Thursday morning. In what was said to be a peaceful exit, the grand star passed on in his home in Gaffney, South Carolina. His outstanding Hall of Fame career legacy, however, lives on.
After retirement, Perry ensured he remained active by working on his farm in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. Likewise, he was always present in major events with his co-Hall-of-Famers. But as years went by, his public attendance gradually became a rarity.
In his 22 League seasons, the octogenarian had an aggregated record of 314-265 in 5,350 innings with 3,534 strikeouts, a 2.56 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and a 3.11 ERA. He’s also on the honorees’ list for the Cy Young Award, having won in 1972 with Cleveland. Later in 1978, he added another of the same medal to his cabinet.
A quick backtrack of some of his incredible performances. In 1966, he had his first All-Star selection, which he earned after throwing a no-hitter against his then-opponents, Bob Gibson and the Cardinals.
He navigated the big leagues and played for renowned teams throughout his career. Some of these are the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants, and Atlanta Braves. He’s also one of the famous spitball specialists, and one could tie that to his Hall of Fame crowning.
Fans across the globe, colleagues, and the entire MLB continue to relay their tributes via various media.
Commissioner Rob Manfred’s Statement
The 10th and incumbent MLB commissioner released his condolences on behalf of the league, and it goes thus:
“Gaylord Perry was a consistent workhorse and a memorable figure in his Hall of Fame career, highlighted by his 314 wins and 3,534 strikeouts in 22 years. He will be remembered among the most accomplished San Francisco Giants ever. Through his time in Cleveland and San Diego, he became the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in the American and National Leagues. The five-time 20-game winner pitched for eight clubs overall and remained a popular teammate and friend throughout his life.
On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Gaylord’s family, friends, and fans across our great game.”
The San Francisco Giants Mourn Their Star
IN HIS STATEMENT, Giants CEO and president Larry Baer said, “Gaylord Perry was larger than life both on and off the field. He was not only a Giants legend but a baseball legend with a storied 22-year career that touched three different decades. Here in San Francisco, he helped lead those early Giants teams in the ’60s and early ’70s that brought young Giants fans like me out to Candlestick Park to fall in love with the game of baseball.”
Perry has the record for the most pitched innings in the Giants in a single season. This was in 1970, 328 2/3. Moreover, he is one of the San Francisco legends who would have statues outside Oracle Park. Other icons are Orlando Cepeda, Marichal, Willie McCovey, and Willie Mays.
A Brief Retro Visit to Gaylord’s Early Years
Gaylord Jackson Perry was born in Williamston, North Carolina on Sept. 15, 1938. His roughly three-year-older brother, Jim, was also an achieving right-hander, making his way into Major Leagues with Cleveland in ’59. He also went on to win the American League Cy Young Award with Minnesota in 1970. This scarce record of these brothers made them one of the focuses of baseball.
In Perry’s High School in Williamston, he was pretty much an all-rounder. He was accomplished in football, baseball, and basketball. However, he got snatched by the Giants via a whooping $73,500 in ’58. After that, he played his six first professional seasons in the Minors.
Perry only left his three daughters behind after losing his wife in a motor accident in 1987.