Updated: Dec 4, 2022
There are many players in the history of Major League Baseball who are underrated. Gaylord Perry is one of them. He was an excellent pitcher for a long time, and despite bouncing around the league a bit later in his career, he always put his team in a position to win. Let's look back on the Hall of Fame career of Gaylor Perry, who passed away at age 84.
Perry started his career with the San Francisco Giants and was a relief pitcher for the most part of his first few years. He became a full-time starter in 1966 and had a breakout year, winning 21 games and pitching to a 2.99 ERA. Perry would shoulder an incredible workload for the next nine years. Between San Francisco and the Cleveland Indians, from 1967-1975, the right-hander would average 314.2 innings with 19 wins, 215 strikeouts, and a 2.73 ERA. During that time, he finished in the top 5 of Cy Young voting three times winning the award in 1972 with a ridiculous 1.92 ERA over 342.2 innings.
After that peak, Perry went on to pitch for the Texas Rangers and the San Diego Padres and won his second Cy Young Award in 1978 with a league-leading 21 wins and a 2.73 ERA. Perry finished off his career with the Kansas City Royals in 1983 after bouncing from the New York Yankees to the Atlanta Braves and to the Seattle Mariners.
Perry is sixth on the all-time list for innings pitched at 5,350. He is also eighth in strikeouts with 3,534. His ability to complete games cannot be understated either. He is the leader in complete games for any pitcher who started their career after 1950 with 303. To maintain a 3.11 career ERA for that amount of work is truly incredible.
One of the most underrated pitchers in baseball history, Perry never got the admiration of Nolan Ryan or had the playoff success of Jim Palmer. However, he was still one of the greatest of a generation and should be remembered as such. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991. RIP Gaylord Jackson Perry