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Countdown To Pitchers And Catchers: #36 Gaylord Perry

| On 15, Jan 2012

Today continues our countdown to the start of Indians pitchers and catchers reporting to Goodyear, Arizona on February 20. We’ll count down the days, profiling a former Indian who wore the corresponding number. Some players will be memorable, others just our favorites and some, the only one we could find who wore that number. Today, we chronicle the career of Gaylord Perry.

By Mike Brandyberry

His time in Cleveland was not long, but Gaylord Perry was memorable in his stay along the shores of Lake Erie. Perry was signed as a free agent by the San Francisco Giants in 1958, debuting with the club in 1962 at the age of 23. He pitched in the Bay Area for ten seasons until he was traded to the Tribe after the 1971 season.

Perry was traded with Frank Duffy to Cleveland for Sam McDowell. McDowell, who had grown out of favor with managers and the front office had enough promise to command the right hander who was a two-time All-Star and had won 20 games just two years prior.

With the Tribe, Perry immediately shined as the club’s ace of the staff. In 1972, Perry went 24-16, with a 1.92 ERA to win the American League Cy Young Award. More notable than his honor, is maybe the way he did it and the change in starting pitchers and how they are used. In 1972, Perry pitched in 41 games, throwing 29 complete games and 342 innings. He followed up his 1972, with a 1973 that found him going 19-19, in another 41 games and another 29 complete games. Quite a change in era and treatment of pitchers compared to the modern pitching staff today.

Perry would pitch another season with the Tribe before being traded to the Texas Rangers in June 1975. The right hander would become a well travelled pitcher after leaving Cleveland. From Texas, he’d travel to San Diego, where he would become the first pitcher to win the Cy Young in both the National and American League, then he would make stops in New  York, Atlanta, Seattle and Kansas City.

Perry won his 300th game as a member of the Seattle Mariners in 1982. When he broke into the big leagues, the Mariners didn’t even exist. He retired from baseball after the 1983 season with a 314-265 record and 3.11 ERA. His 1972 Cy Young Award was the only one for the Tribe until C.C. Sabathia won the award in 2007.

Photo: Associated Press

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