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Jim Perry Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: October 30, 1935 in Williamston, North Carolina
Biography | show moreshow less
Jim Perry
This article was written by Joseph Wancho and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research

New York fans had to be pleased at the scene that was unfolding before their eyes on May 12, 1959. Their Bronx heroes trailed the league-leading Indians 7-6 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. Cleveland starter Cal McLish was attempting to raise his record to 5-0, when manager Joe Gordon lifted him for Jim Perry. Jim Perry? Surely there were more experienced arms in the bullpen to which Gordon could turn. Why go with a green rookie in such a tight game? His previous outing in Chicago, three days earlier, Perry faced four batters in the third inning, walking three and giving up a hit to the other; all four players scored. When told that Gordon favored Perry because he threw hard and liked Perry’s guts, a New York scribe commented that perhaps “Gordon had more guts than his pitcher.” Gordon Cobbledick, sports editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, was watching the game on television back home. “That Gordon is crazy!” he remarked to his wife.

Young Perry was visiting Yankee Stadium for the first time. Certainly the crowd of 36,000-plus would intimidate the young hurler. Gordon had simple advice for the rookie: “Joe told me to go in there and start firing and that’s just what I did,” said Perry afterward.

Jerry Lumpe grounded out to first base. Pinch-hitters Enos Slaughter and Andy Carey were both strikeout victims. Gordon left Perry in for the ninth, with the meat of the Yankees’ order coming to the dish. Tony Kubek led off the inning by stroking a double down the third-base line, sending the crowd into a frenzy. But Perry bore down, striking out Mickey Mantle. Yogi Berra popped out to second base, and Elston Howard struck out to end the game. Four punch outs for young Perry in two innings. “We knew before that Jim was pretty good,” Gordon said. “Now we know for sure he can come in and throw his blazer over the plate and past the hitters. From now on he’s my No. 1 tough-spot pitcher -- early, late or any time. A game like this can make a young pitcher.”

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