Baseball Hall of Famer and two-time Cy Young winner Gaylord Perry died Thursday. He was 84.
Perry died of natural causes at about 5 a.m. Thursday at his home in Gaffney, South Carolina, a coroner told the Associated Press.
He played in MLB for 22 years and pitched 5,350 innings for eight teams from 1962 to 1983.
Perry’s first team was the San Francisco Giants, with which he played with four other future Hall of Famers: Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal and Orlando Cepeda.
A five-time All-Star, Perry was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991. He won the Cy Young award with Cleveland in 1972 and with San Diego in 1978, just after turning 40, becoming the first pitcher to win the award in both leagues.
Perry’s brother, Jim, joined him in Cleveland in 1974. They played one full season together and recorded 38 of the team’s 77 wins. Their combined 529 career wins trail only the Niekro brothers’ 539 in MLB history.
Well known for his spitball, Perry also incorporated an exceptional fastball and curveball. He titled his 1974 autobiography “Me and the Spitter.”
His Hall of Fame bio explains that despite his reputation for doctoring the ball, some speculated that it was not so much the spitball itself but the threat of it that mystified batters.
Upon retirement, Perry was 11th on the all-time list, with 314 wins, and he had the third-most strikeouts (3,534), behind Steve Carlton and Nolan Ryan.
After his career, Perry founded the baseball program at Limestone College in Gaffney and coached the team for its first three years.
In September 1987, Gaylord’s high school sweetheart and wife, Blanche, was killed in a two-vehicle car accident at 46 years old. A few years later, Gaylord married Carol Caggiano, a board member at Limestone College. He had four children.