Gaylord Perry became part of baseball history tonight at the Kingdome, becoming the 15th major league pitcher to win 300 games as the Seattle Mariners beat the New York Yankees, 7-3.
The 43-year-old right-hander, who is in his 20th major-league season, held the Yankees to nine hits in completing his third game in six starts. He is 3-2 this season.
"It was great, like the last game of the World Series out there," said Perry.
Perry, only the eighth 300 game winner in this century and the first in 19 years, shut out the Yankees on three hits until the sixth inning, when Ken Griffey homered. The Yankees scored two runs in the eighth on five singles.
"Maybe you guys will recognize me now for winning 300 and not for that other pitch," said Perry, alluding to his infamous spitball.
Tonight, Perry's teammates gave him plenty of support, getting five runs on five hits off Yankee starter Doyle Alexander (0-2) in the third inning and scoring twice off reliever Rudy May in the seventh.
Perry, who beat the Yankees last Friday in New York for victory 299, struck out four. That left him 141 shy of his next goal, Walter Johnson's strikeout record of 3,508.
When Perry took the mound for the eighth inning, he was greeted with chants of, "Gaylord, Gaylord, Gaylord" and his second standing ovation of the game. He was the man of the hour, and his 43 years were forgotten.
His age had nearly kept him out of baseball this season, he has said. After he was cut by Atlanta in August, few teams were willing to risk signing the two-time Cy Young Award winner. Finally, Mariners President Dan O'Brien, who had been Perry's general manager in Texas, gave him one last chance.
He was invited to the Mariners' camp March 5 and signed March 27, needing just three victories to reach 300 and nearly certain enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.
He lost his first two decisions, by two runs to Oakland and one run to California, pitching complete games in both, then he started rolling.
He struck out 13 in a 6-4 victory over California April 20, worked 6 2/3 innings without a decision in a 5-4 loss to Minnesota five days later and won No. 299 at Yankee Stadium last Friday.
With No. 300, he joins a special group.
There are only three living former major leaguers in the 300-victory group, the others being Early Wynn and Warren Spahn, who won 363. Six of the other 14 won all or most of their games before the turn of the century.
Lefty Grove and Wynn both finished their careers with exactly 300. Cy Young won 511 games between 1890 and 1911 to lead all pitchers in victories. Perry has no chance at that record.