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Gaylord Perry

From Academic Kids

Gaylord Jackson Perry (born September 15, 1938 in Williamston, North Carolina) was a Major League Baseball player and member of the United States Baseball Hall of Fame.

Notorious for doctoring baseballs (throwing a spitball), Perry won 314 games over a 22-year career starting in 1963. A five-time All-Star, he was the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues, winning it in 1972 with the Cleveland Indians and in 1978 with the San Diego Padres. He is also distinguished, along with his brother Jim, for being the second-winningest brother combination in baseball history--second only to the knuckleballing Niekro brothers, Phil and Joe. In 1983, he became the third pitcher in the same year to surpass longtime strikeout king Walter Johnson's record of 3,509 strikeouts. Steve Carlton and Nolan Ryan were the others.

Despite Perry's notoriety for doctoring baseballs--he even went so far as to title his autobiography Me and the Spitter--he wouldn't be ejected for the illegal practice until 1983, his 20th season in the majors. Perry also reportedly approached the makers of Vaseline about endorsing the product and was allegedly rebuffed with a one-line postcard reading, "We soothe babies' backsides, not baseballs."

Like most pitchers, Perry was not renowned for his hitting ability, and in his rookie season of 1963, he is said to have joked, "They'll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run." On July 20, 1969, just hours after Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, Perry hit the first home run of his career.

Perry retired in 1983 after pitching for eight teams (the San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals). He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991.

Sources

On the validity of the "man on the moon" comment (http://www.snopes.com/sports/baseball/perry.htm)

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