Hall of Famer got the win in his All-Star debut in '66, started for AL in '74
By Spencer Fordin
Gaylord Perry knows what it means to be an All-Star. Perry, a Hall of Fame pitcher who won Cy Young Awards in both leagues, joined a conference call Thursday afternoon to promote the upcoming All-Star Game in Cincinnati. The five-time All-Star will make an appearance at T-Mobile All-Star Fan Fest in Cincinnati.
But on this day, Perry took a trip down memory lane. He played for the San Francisco Giants during his first two All-Star experiences in 1966 and '70, and he shared a bit of his memory of those games on Thursday.
"We had Sandy Koufax starting [in 1966]. We had [Juan] Marichal and we had [Bob] Gibson," said Perry. "Gaylord Perry, it was the first time he ever made the All-Star Game, and I didn't think I'd really get a chance to pitch. I was sitting in the bullpen and the phone rang, and Walter Alston was our manager. He said, 'Get that Perry kid up.' I got up, I pitched the ninth and 10th inning and got the win. How about that?"
Perry, who won 314 games during his accomplished career, said that he can recall facing off against the Big Red Machine in the prime of their success. Perry said that Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Pete Rose and Tony Perez presented an incredible challenge even to the greatest pitchers of the era.
"They were just loaded," said Perry of the Reds. "There were so many of them. I was lucky with Bench. He didn't hit any home runs off me, but he got a lot of other hits. The guy that aggravated you the most, because he got so many hits, was Pete Rose. He would hit the ball the opposite way. You'd pitch him inside and he'd still hit the opposite way. You just didn't have one way of getting him out."
Perry moved to the American League in 1972, and he represented the Cleveland Indians for his All-Star Game trips in '72 and 74. Perry would win the AL Cy Young Award with a 24-16 record and a 1.92 ERA for the Indians in '72, and two seasons later, he remembers starting the All-Star Game for the AL.
"That's the year I won 15 in a row and I was the starting pitcher in the All-Star Game," he said. "I thought I was going to get the win, but the other team came back and got some runs. I didn't get the loss, anyway. But we had fun. And it's special to be with great players like Roberto Clemente, and like I said before -- Bench and Morgan and Rose and Perez. You think they're bad guys, but when you get to know them, they're pretty good guys. They can really put a hurting on you. You have to be very careful."
Perry later won the Cy Young Award for the Padres in 1978, and 175 of his 314 wins came in the National League.
Perry, with Cincinnati on his mind, thinks the Reds will rebound after the break.
"I think that Cincinnati team is going to get a lot better in the second half," he said. "I can see them coming together now, and they got the All-Star Game. It's really going to pump them up."
The 86th All-Star Game will be played July 14 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on their computers, tablets and smartphones -- using the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, July 2, at 11:59 p.m. ET. For the first time, voting is exclusively online, where fans may submit up to 35 ballots.
Fans may also receive the ballot by texting VOTE to 89269 (USA) or 101010 (Canada). Or text VOTA for a ballot in Spanish. Message and data rates may apply. Up to five messages. No purchase required. Reply STOP to cancel. Reply HELP for info.
Following the announcement of the 2015 All-Stars, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player for each league's All-Star roster. On Tuesday, July 14, watch the 2015 All-Star Game live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2015 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.
MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of All-Star Week festivities.
The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.