Gaylord Perry finds key to success in his mouth



On this day in 1964: The San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets play what is at the time the longest game in major league history — 7 hours, 23 minutes — and Williamston native Gaylord Perry loads up his first illegal pitch. Clinging to a spot on the Giants’ roster, reliever Perry hesitates only briefly before unveiling his new pitch.

“I was 25 years old, and I had spent most of my first six seasons in the minors,” he will recall later. “I thought of my wife, Blanche, our very young children, and Mama and Daddy back on the farm, all counting on me. And me taking home only $9,500 a year.” Perry and the spitter combine for 10 scoreless innings, and the Giants quickly install him in their starting rotation. Next stop: Hall of Fame.

Pictured: Promotional card and hat pin distributed at Chevron gas stations in the San Francisco area, circa 1991.