June 22, 2021

The Baseball 100: No. 68, Gaylord Perry (The Athletic)

Starting in December and ending on Opening Day, Joe Posnanski will count down the 100 greatest baseball players by publishing an essay on a player every day for 100 days. In all, this project will contain roughly as many words as “Moby Dick.” Yes, we know it’s nutty. We hope you enjoy. 

Gaylord Perry cheated. He did not hide that fact — well, check that, he did actually hide it, but then he didn’t, and then he did again, but anyway, he did not run from it. He called his autobiography “Me and the Spitter: An Autobiographical Confession.” In it, he talks at length about cheating and begins with the day he decided to live his life as a baseball outlaw.

That day was May 31, 1964. It was the second game of a pretty meaningless doubleheader against the abysmal Mets. But it wasn’t meaningless at all for Perry. His career was in the balance that day. He had to make a choice.

And he made his choice.

Jim and Gaylord Perry (Jim was…

Read “The Baseball 100: No. 68, Gaylord Perry” at The Athletic