Perry to get statue at Giants' ballpark

Hall of Famer pitcher will join Mays, McCovey, Marichal, Cepeda in honor

Perry to get statue at Giants' ballpark

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants will put the finishing touches on honoring their San Francisco-era Hall of Fame quintet by unveiling a statue in right-hander Gaylord Perry's honor before the Aug. 13 game against Baltimore, the organization announced Monday.

The bronze image of Perry, 77, will join the sculptures of Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal and Orlando Cepeda that are located along AT&T Park's perimeter. Each played virtually all or a significant amount of his career with the Giants after they moved to San Francisco in 1958.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Perry's statue will be located at Second and King streets, across from Cepeda's statue at the Second Street entrance.

Giants management released no details about Perry's statue, though it will be crafted by Will Behrends, the creator of the other four likenesses. Perry said he visited Behrends on Monday at the artist's North Carolina studio.

Perry said the Giants hinted in recent years about his being immortalized thusly. The inevitability didn't diminish his gratitude when he received the news last week.

"It's like having pie and ice cream, too," said Perry, who compiled a 314-265 record from 1962-83 before being enshrined at Cooperstown in 1991.

Perry joins the Hall

Mario Alioto, the Giants' senior vice president of business operations, explained simply that the time was right to honor Perry, who posted a 134-109 mark with a 2.96 ERA while spending the first 10 seasons of his career with the Giants. Perry didn't become a full-time starter until 1966, but once he joined the rotation, he remained a fixture in it. From 1966-71, Perry accumulated a 110-79 record with a 2.75 ERA and 113 complete games in 227 starts.

• Perry's career stats

He particularly matched durability with skill when he led the National League with 325 1/3 innings in 1969 and 328 2/3 in 1970. He finished 19-14 in the former year and 23-13 in the latter. No other Giant would win at least 18 games in back-to-back seasons until Madison Bumgarner did so in 2014 (18-10) and 2015 (18-9).

"There's a reason his number is retired," Alioto said, referring to Perry's No. 36.

Perry felt honored to join the sculpted pantheon of Mays, McCovey, Marichal and Cepeda.

"When I saw those guys play, I said, 'Well, if I just go out there and let [the opponents] hit the ball, I've got a good chance to win," Perry said. "I had some of the best players in baseball behind me. I wasn't afraid to throw strikes."

Perry remains especially close to Marichal, his counterpart at the the top of the Giants' rotation.

"Juan's always been my best friend in the game," Perry said.

To Cepeda, competitiveness was Perry's most enduring quality.

"The first time I faced him after I got traded to St. Louis in 1966, he knocked me down twice," Cepeda recalled. "He told me, 'You're my friend, but right now you're my enemy.'"

Chris Haft is a reporter for Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.