Perez replaced the bat with a broomstick, the ball with kernels of corn and bottlecaps and the tee with nothing during his youth spent in Valencia.
"I don't remember how many times I hit those kernels of corn and the bottlecaps," Perez recalled. "I just hit, hit, hit, hit."
Pounding those kernels of corn and bottlecaps eventually paid off as Kansas City signed Perez in 2006 for a $65,000 signing bonus.
He's now one of three Venezuelans in the Royals' starting lineup -- Omar Infante and Alcides Escobar being the others.
Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.