Wednesday, February 13, 2013
1976 Topps - Gaylord Perry.
After coming to Texas in a mid-season trade in 1975, Perry performed well. In 1976 the Rangers were hoping he could keep it up and perhaps give some pointers to some of the younger pitchers on the staff. At 37 years of age Perry was almost the oldest pitcher on the team. Only 39-year-old Joe Hoerner was older.
I'm not sure how many pointers Perry handed out but he was able to keep the success going. Gaylord started a team best 32 games and pitched 250.1 innings - another team high. He posted a respectable 3.24 ERA and a 1.134 WHIP. He also struck out 143 batters. That was a dip from previous seasons but it did get him past Bob Feller and Warren Spahn on the all-time strikeout list. Not too shabby company there. Due in part to a poor supporting cast, those numbers translated into only a 15-14 record.
Apparently the old man still had it. Whether by talent or guile, he still knew how to win. Catcher Jim Sundberg was suspicious as to how much of Perry's success was talent and how much was guile. Rumors of Gaylord doctoring the ball flew hot and heavy every time he toed the rubber. Sundberg decided to keep an eye on him. Perhaps in 1977 he could determine if Perry did indeed doctor the ball.