Baseball legend Gaylord Perry, whose 22-year Hall of Fame pitching career, in which he won two Cy Young Awards, and will be forever connected with the spitball, died at his home in Gaffney, S.C., of natural causes on Thursday morning. He was 84.
Perry remained consistently active during most of his retirement, working on his farm in Spruce Pine, N.C. He also religiously attended events, such as statue dedications and World Series ring ceremonies, alongside fellow Giants Hall of Famers such as Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda.
Unfortunately, his presence at such gatherings became sporadic in recent years.
One of the most recognizable stars for three decades, Perry became the first pitcher to win a Cy Young Award in each league, capturing the honor in 1972 with Cleveland and in ’78 with San Diego. In 22 Major League seasons, he compiled a 314-265 record with a 3.11 ERA and 3,534 strikeouts.
Perry was also known as the master of the spitball, even though it was banned by MLB in 1920.
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991 with a 77.2% vote.
His career spanned multiple teams across Major League Baseball, playing for the Giants, Indians, Rangers, Padres, Yankees, Braves, Mariners and Royals over the course of his career.
“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,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “He will be remembered among the most accomplished San Francisco Giants ever, and through his time in Cleveland and San Diego, he became the first pitcher ever to win the Cy Young Award in both the American and National Leagues. The five-time 20-game winner pitched for eight different 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.”
Perry is survived by three daughters. His wife, Blanche, died in an automobile accident on Sept. 11, 1987.