Gaylord Perry: Hall of Fame Luncheon
Former Indians pitcher Gaylord Perry will be inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame on Saturday. Perry will be honored at Progressive Field, prior to the Indians game against Boston tonight. Existing Hall of Famers Sam McDowell, Mike Hargrove, Sandy Alomar, and Kenny Lofton joined Perry at the Hall of Fame Benefit Luncheon at the Terrace Club early Saturday. The former players shared their stories with fans and signed autographs following the roundtable discussion.
TribeVibe: What does it mean to be the first winner of the Cy Young Award in each league?
Gaylord Perry: Well, it was something very special. You get traded to a team, and you want to do very well, not just to prove to the team that got rid of you that they shouldn’t have, but that the team that got you made a great deal. I got a great start. The first game, I beat Detroit 2-1 in front of 75,000 people here. It was a great start for me.
TV: How has the game changed since you played?
GP: It’s changed a little bit. The starters don’t have to go nine innings anymore; they’ve got great relievers in the bullpen. They got all new stadiums, which they needed; that makes it a lot better for the fans. Every stadium [has] great food; it’s like going out to a gourmet restaurant. They’ve made it fan-friendly, and that’s great.
TV: Can you compare a more recent Cy Young Award winner to a Cy Young Award winner from your time?
GP: Well, I thought CC Sabathia should have won a couple already; he’s one of those guys that I think should win it. You’ve got a couple out in LA — Weaver and Wilson; they’re good. September’s very important; you’ve got to be about 5-0 in September to win it.
TV: Do you think it takes the same ability to win the Cy Young Award now as it did back then?
GP: I think so. You have to count on your bullpen, your closer more now than you did back then. In ’72, when I won it that year, I completed 29 games, so you had to do most of it yourself.
TV: What is your best memory of being in Cleveland?
GP: I think that year I won the Cy Young Award, and in ’74, I won 15 in a row. You had to put things together; you can’t just have one day.
TV: What are your thoughts on the current Indians team?
GP: I think they’d like to have their pitching staff step up and have a guy who stops losing streaks. If you have a 10 or 11-game losing streak, you’ve got to have a stopper out there, and that’s what they have to do. I know their coaches know who to put the pressure on, and it has to be done.
TV: Are you glad to be back in Cleveland?
GP: Absolutely, you’re seeing guys you haven’t seen in 30 years. It’s been a while. It’s good to see some players that played after I did. It’s good to come back and see the guys play. You always remember the good things, and you try not to remember the bad ones. You remember the wins you had, the double plays they got behind you, the home runs they had to win, things like that you remember.
TV: What advice do you have for Indians fans?
GP: Well, they’ve got a much better ballpark to watch this team play. We had some pretty good players back then, so we had a lot of guys that they should remember — the dads and moms.
-Megan Golden, TribeVibe contributor