Gaylord Perry

     Perhaps the most famous Hall of Fame player who will readily admit that he cheated, Perry had “spent most of his career denying that he did anything illegal… (but) finally came clean in a 1974 book (Armour, n.d.).” 

     “One either cheats or does not. Degrees of cheating exist, which means different penalties for cheating are necessary, but an illegal pitch paved Gaylord Perry’s path to the Hall of Fame (Friend, 2008).”

     He was “one of the premier pitchers of his generation, won 314 games and struck out 3,524 batters, but his place in baseball history rests mainly with his notorious use of the spitball, or greaseball… for two decades (Armour, n.d.).”  Perry was a good cheater as well.  For admitting that he threw pitches with foreign substances on them, “Perry was caught throwing an illegal pitch only once in his career (Gammons, 1989).”

     When the rules committee finally outlawed “a pitcher putting his hand to his mouth anywhere on the pitcher's mound (Armour, n.d.),” Perry had to adopt not only a new way of pitching but also a new way of using a foreign substance.

     Perry made headlines when he was warned and then ejected during a game in the 1982 season, “for throwing two allegedly illegal pitches… the first and only time Perry, a 21-year veteran… had been kicked out of a ballgame for his famous pitch (Armour, n.d.).”  “He became one of the very few pitchers to be suspended for doctoring the ball ("Biggest cheaters" n.d.).”

     “He'd… (touch) his cap or his sleeve, either loading up the ball or trying to convince batters he was doing so… Perry's catcher… said the ball was sometimes so loaded he couldn't throw it back to the mound ("Biggest cheaters" n.d.).”

     Like Cobb did when he played (convinced the infielders on the opposite team that he had sharpened his spikes to intimidate them when he slid into a base), Perry also liked to intimidate the batters that he faced.

Dave Duncan (Appendix A)… Perry's catcher… in 1974… claims Perry threw only one spitter that year. ‘He had a great sinker and just kept up the act [his fidgeting on the mound] to make hitters believe he was loading up the ball… they focused on trying to catch him cheating instead of concentrating on how he was pitching them (Gammons, 1989).

 

     Among the substances admitted to having used on baseballs: K-Y jelly, Vaseline, saliva, fishing-line wax, resin, sweat and dirt (Gammons, 1989).

(Ferguson) Jenkins and (Gaylord) Perry would have been locks for Cooperstown if they had been judged as (Babe) Ruth… simply on the basis of performance. Jenkins and Perry will be eligible again next year. Let's hope the many voters who this year refused to vote for them on moral grounds will include them on their ballots in 1990 (Gammons, 1989).

 

     Together, Jenkins and Perry were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991 ("Hall of Famers," n.d.).