This Day In Padres History: Gaylord Perry Wins Cy Young Award


Exactly thirty-six years ago Gaylord Perry became the second Padre in franchise history to win the National League Cy Young award. Perry’s phenomenal season came just two years after Randy Jones became the first Padre to take home the honor in 1976.

At 39 years of age, Perry started off his 16th season with a bang. Perry had three starts in April and finished the month with a 2-0 record and a 1.90 ERA with 17 strikeouts. Perry was roughed up a bit in May as he was only able to manage a 1-2 record through seven starts with a 3.45 ERA.

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There would be no “June gloom” for Perry. In fact, this is when K-Lord’s bid for immortality became a reality. Through six starts, Perry would go 5-1 with a 2.60 ERA, two of the wins coming off of complete game efforts.

Despite the fact that the 1978 All Star Game was held in San Diego, Perry missed the cut with a 9-4 record and a 3.11 ERA. Perry had a 12-4 record with a 3.19 heading into August. Perry started another seven games in August winning three and losing two. Those two losses would be the last two blemishes on his record.

In September of the 1978 season, Gaylord Perry went 6-0 in seven starts. In his final start of the season, Perry struck out ten over ten innings in a no decision Padres victory. Perry finished the season with a 21-6 record, 154 strikeouts, 2.73 ERA, and a 1.178 WHIP.

At age 40, Perry would go on to receive 97% of the votes and win the second and final Cy Young award of his career.

Others receiving votes included: Burt Hooten, Vida Blue, J.R. Richard, Kent Tekulve, Phil Niekro, Ross Grimsley, Rollie Fingers, Tommy John, and Don Robinson.

Perry was well known for doctoring baseballs during his pitching career with vasoline, spit, and dust from the rosin bag. Former Padres teammate, Gene Tenace, was once quoted saying, “I can remember a couple of occasions when I couldn’t throw the ball back to him because it was so greasy that it slipped out of my hands. I just walked out to the mound and flipped the ball back to him”.

Former opposing manager, Gene Mauch, didn’t seem to care much for Perry’s antics and said that, “(Perry) should be in the Hall of Fame with a tube of KY Jelly attached to his plaque.”

Gaylord Perry was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.