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On This Date in Sports May 6, 1982: The Old Mariner Gets #300

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Pitching with the Seattle Mariners, Gaylord Perry wins his 300th game as the Mariners beat the New York Yankees 7-3 at the Kingdome. The 43-year-old is the 15th pitcher to reach 300 wins. Perry, whose career began with the San Francisco Giants in 1962, was notorious for throwing a spitball was the first pitcher to win Cy Young Award in each league. Gaylord Perry retired in 1983 with a record of 314-265.

Gaylord Perry on September 15, 1968, in Williamston, North Carolina. Perry and his brother Jim both made it into the major leagues. The grew up watching their father play semipro baseball in North Carolina. Jim Perry made his debut with the Cleveland Indians in 1959, finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting to Bob Allison of the Washington Senators. Moving on to the Minnesota Twins, Jim Perry won the Cy Young in 1970. 

Gaylord Perry made his debut with the San Francisco Giants, three years later. Perry would spend a decade with the Giants, where he got the reputation for throwing an illegal spitball, loaded with Vaseline. Perry used this to his advantage, as he often psyched out opposing batters, as he hid the illicit substance behind his ear. Perry was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 1972. In his first season with the Indians, Gaylord Perry won a career-high 24 games as captured the Cy Young. When his brother won the Cy Young in 1970, Gaylord finished second in the National League. The Perry Brothers would briefly play together in Cleveland, as Jim Perry retired in 1975. The Perry brothers are the only brothers to each win a Cy Young. 

After pitching three and a half seasons in Cleveland, Gaylord Perry was traded to the Texas Rangers. In 1978, Gaylord Perry moved on to the San Diego Padres, where he won a second Cy Young at the age of 40. After two years in San Diego, Perry ended up back with the Rangers for a half-season. He would finish the 1980 season with the New York Yankees. In 1981, Gaylord Perry pitched with the Atlanta Braves, posting a record of 8-9 in a strike-shortened season. 

As Spring Training began in 1982, Gaylord Perry was three wins away from 300, but without a team. Eventually, he would sign with the Seattle Mariners, a recent expansion team that was struggling to attract fans, as they languished in the Kingdome and lost way more games than they won. The Mariners hoped the pursuit of 300 wins could attract fans. To their delight, Gaylord Perry had a shot for 300 wins at the Kingdome, with 27,369 in attendance on a Thursday night against the New York Yankees. Perry had split his first four decisions, while the Mariners stood at 12-15. The Yankees, after losing the 1981 World Series, were off to a nightmarish start, sitting at 9-13 as manager Bob Lemon was fired and replaced by Gene Michael. 

While Gaylord Perry got the start for the Mariners, Doyle Alexander was making the start for New York. The Mariners broke the game open in the third inning, taking a 5-0 lead. It started when Jim Maier led the inning off with a triple. He came into score on a single by Bud Bulling. Julio Cruz followed with a bunt that was thrown away by catcher Rick Cerone, giving Seattle runners at second and third. Manny Castillo followed with a single and advance to second on a poor throw by center fielder Jerry Mumphrey. Alexander retired the next two batters, but the Mariners got a pair runs on a single by Todd Cruz, who later scored on a triple by Al Cowens as all nine Mariners came to the plate.  

 Staked to a 5-0 lead, Gaylord Perry silenced the Yankees bats until the sixth inning when Ken Griffey Sr hit his first home run of the season. Griffey had been a big pick up for the Yankees, but was off to a slow start, as he was angered when the team scolded his 12-year-old son for being in the clubhouse. In the seventh, the Mariners scored two runs off Rudy May as Manny Castillo doubled in Bud Bulling, and later scored on a triple by Bruce Bochete. Perry showed signs of weakening in the eighth inning as the Yankees loaded the bases, Dave Winfield would single home Willie Randolph, while Griffey scored on a single by Oscar Gamble. However, the rally ended when Roy Smalley flew out to left field. Perry would come for the ninth and retired the Yankees in order, as Randolph grounded out to Julio Cruz to end the game, as the Mariners won 7-3, and Gaylord Perry had win number 300. 

Gaylord Perry’s final line for his 300th win saw him allow three runs on nine hits while striking out four and walking one. Three of the Yankees nine hits were by Ken Griffey Sr. Gaylord Perry would win ten games in 1982, and added seven wins in 1983, finishing his career with the Kanas City Royals. At the time of his retirement, he and brother Jim Perry had the record for most wins by a pair of siblings, a record that would later be topped by the Niekro Brothers, Joe, and Phil.