Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Jim Perry (#283)

Jim Perry pitched for 17 years (1959-75), mostly for the Indians and Twins. His best season was 1970, when he led the league with 24 wins and won the Cy Young award.

The older brother of Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry was signed by the Indians in 1956, and after 3 seasons as a starting pitcher in the low minors, he skipped double-A and triple-A ball to make his major-league debut with the Tribe in April 1959.

Although Jim’s debut on April 23rd was a starting assignment, he spent most of his rookie season in the bullpen, until joining the rotation in late-July. He made 12 more starts that year, finished up with a 12-10 record and a 2.65 ERA, and was a distant 2nd place to Bob Allison in the Rookie of the Year voting.

Perry had a monster sophomore campaign, taking over as the Indians’ ace and leading the American League in wins (18), starts (36), and shutouts (4). The following season he made his first of 3 all-star squads.

Jim was traded to the Twins straight-up for pitcher Jack Kralick in May 1963, and joined Camilo Pascual, Dick Stigman, and Jim Kaat in the starting rotation. (In a few years, almost the entire staff would be named Jim.)

With the Twins’ acquisition of ex-Indians’ teammate Jim "Mudcat" Grant in 1964, Perry spent the entire season in the bullpen. He returned to the rotation in 1965, and posted double-figure wins in both ’65 and ’66. Jim also pitched 2 games in the 1965 World Series, with no decisions.

Perry had 2 off-years, then made a comeback in 1969 by winning 20 games and finishing 3rd in the Cy Young balloting behind Mike Cuellar and Denny McLain. The following season he won a league-best 24 games, and claimed the Cy Young award. Perry pitched in the ’69 and ’70 ALCS, and made the ’70 and ’71 all-star teams.

After winning 17 games in 1971 and 13 in 1972, Perry was traded to the Tigers prior to the ’73 season. He played only 1 year in Detroit, then moved back to the Indians in March 1974 as part of a 3-team trade involving the Yankees.

Jim spiked up to 17 wins in his return to Cleveland, but it would be his last good season. He began the 1975 season with the Indians, but with his record at 1-6, he was traded to the Athletics on May 20th (with pitcher Dick Bosman) for pitcher John "Blue Moon" Odom. Perry pitched in 15 games for Oakland before he was released on August 13th.

In 17 seasons, he compiled a 215-174 record with 1576 strikeouts.

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