From a distance fans only see the jersey which sports the logos of the eight big league teams he pitched for, but unless they are up close and personal they do not get to see something far more significant. It is a ring that proclaims that he is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
So maybe it was fitting that on Monday, the day pitchers and catchers started to report to spring training, the Charlotte Knights announced that one of their native sons, Gaylord Perry, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch, meet and greet fans, and sign autographs on Friday, June 14.
Perry’s appearance is part of the Knights season long “Flashback Fridays” promotion as they say good-bye to Knights Stadium before moving into their state of the art facility, BB&T Ballpark, in uptown Charlotte in 2014.
“It’s a great way to kick-off Father’s Day weekend,” said Knights General Manager of Baseball Operations Scott Brown in a release. “Keeping with our retro-theme, adding Perry to our ‘Flashback Fridays’ series was something we are very excited about. We are enjoying commemorating the rich 24-year history of Knights Stadium.”
Perry is no stranger to Knights Stadium having thrown out the first pitch on Opening Day, April 18, 1992.
A Williamston, North Carolina native, Perry broke into the majors with the San Francisco Giants and when his career came to an end in 1983 he had 314 wins and along with his older brother, Jim, combined for 529 victories, just ten behind the Niekro brothers, Phil and Joe, for the all-time mark.
Inducted into the Cooperstown shrine in 1991 after 22 big league seasons, Perry was the first hurler to win a Cy Young Award in both leagues, in the American in 1972 with the Cleveland Indians and the National in 1978 with the San Diego Padres. He has a no-hitter to his credit twirling the gem against the Cardinals at Candlestick Park on September 17, 1968.
Perry made his debut on April 14, 1962 and was knocked out after two and two-thirds, a game the Giants went on to win 13-6 handing the win to a pitcher of some note, Don Larsen who to date has thrown the only perfect game in World Series history.
After a decade in San Francisco, Perry would move on to play for the Indians, Rangers, Padres, Rangers again, Yankees, Braves, Mariners and Royals finishing with 3,534 strikeouts, and a 3.11 earned run average.
In 1999 Perry was ranked by The Sporting News as one of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players in Major League Baseball history and his uniform number 36 was retired by the Giants on July 23, 2005.