Gaylord Perry was 35 and had pitched 12 seasons in the big leagues when he decided to make a stunning confession in an autobiography, writing: “On May 31, 1964, I became an outlaw in the strictest sense of the word — a man who lives outside the law, in this case, the law of baseball.”
Perry admitted to doctoring baseballs. Could baseball tolerate a pitcher who repeatedly broke the rules and now openly planned to continue doing so?
Only for nine more seasons.
Perry, who won his second Cy Young Award five years after his 1974 memoir “Me and the Spitter” appeared, retired after the 1983 season with 314 victories.
Justice did catch up with him after he retired. He didn’t make it into the Hall of Fame until his third year of eligibility.
Perry is part of a long tradition in baseball. The game has sayings like “If ya ain’t cheating, ya ain’t trying,” or “It ain’t cheating if you don’t get caught.”
But we have what appears to be a sea change in Major League Baseball’s attitude about cheating.
The big surprise in this whole sign-stealing scandal with the Houston Astros that has rocked baseball? Somebody was actually punished, several somebodies in…