Perry wins 300th game with Mariners

Part of the INSIDE PITCH series
Written by: Craig Muder

He was the ironman of the mound, an innings-eating machine who never seemed to tire.

And – oh, yeah – there was that spitball thing, too.

But as the years pass and Gaylord Perry remains ensconced on baseball's leaderboard, the questions about the legality of Perry's pitches diminish. What is left are the numbers, like the 300th win Perry posted on May 6, 1982, as a member of the Seattle Mariners.

Perry, 43, beat the New York Yankees, 7-3, notching one of his 303 career complete games in the process. Perry struck out four and walked just one, becoming the 15th pitcher to reach the 300-win plateau.

Perry went 10-12 that year, then retired after the 1983 season with a career record of 314-265.

He pitched an astounding 5,350 1/3 innings, a figure topped by only five pitchers in history.

"In the late 1960s, they started pitch counts with the clicker, but they didn't worry about it before that," Perry said. "You went out there and were worried about winning the game."

Perry cloaked his spitball around a shroud of ritual, moving through several steps before every pitch. Yet it was Perry's uncanny control -- he averaged fewer than 63 walks per season and issued more than 100 bases on balls only once -- that kept him on the mound when most pitchers were headed for the showers. Perry also struck out 3,534 batters, which ranks eighth all-time.

He spent his first 10 seasons with the San Francisco Giants, twice winning 20 games and finishing second in the 1970 National League Cy Young race.

After the 1971 season, the Giants shipped Perry to Cleveland for Sam McDowell. Perry proceeded to win the 1972 American League Cy Young Award by going 24-16 with a 1.92 ERA.

Perry topped the 300-inning mark from 1972-75. In 1978, Perry became the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues by going 21-6 for the San Diego Padres.

Perry led his league in victories three times and was named to five All-Star teams in his 22-year career.

He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991.


Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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Part of the INSIDE PITCH series