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Gaylord Perry – 1976 Topps #55

Gaylord Jackson Perry (born September 15, 1938 in Williamston, North Carolina) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. He pitched from 1962-1983 for eight different teams in his career. During a 22-year baseball career, Perry compiled 314 wins, 3,534 strikeouts, and a 3.11 earned run average. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991. Perry, a five-time All-Star, was the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in each league, winning it in the American League in 1972 with the Cleveland Indians and in the National League 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. While pitching for the Seattle Mariners in 1982, Perry became the fifteenth member of the 300 win club. Despite Perry’s notoriety for doctoring baseballs (throwing a spitball), and perhaps even more so for making batters think he was throwing them on a regular basis – he even went so far as to title his 1974 autobiography Me and the Spitter – he was not ejected for the illegal practice until August 23, 1982, in his 21st season in the majors. Like most pitchers, Perry was not renowned for his hitting ability, and in his sophomore season of 1963, his manager Alvin Dark is said to have joked, “They’ll put a man on the moon before he hits a home run.” There are other variants on the story, but either way, on July 20, 1969, just an hour after the Apollo 11 spacecraft carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon, Perry hit the first home run of his career.

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