On July 20, 1969, pitcher Gaylord Perry hit is his first major league home run. In his 22-year career Perry would amass a batting average of .131 with 141 hits, including 17 doubles, 6 home runs, and 47 RBI. As a Hall of Fame pitcher, however, he’d finish his career with a 3.11 ERA, allowing 399 home runs with a win-loss percentage of .542.
One of the myth’s surrounding Perry is the tale that his manager with the Giants once said, “a man will land on the moon before Gaylord Perry hits a home run.” According to MLB.com’s Cut 4, the story goes as follows:
One day during the ’64 season, [San Francisco Giants Manager Alvin] Dark and San Francisco Examiner reporter Harry Jupiter looked on as Perry smacked some home runs during batting practice. Jupiter told Dark that Perry looked pretty good with a bat in his hands and remarked that the pitcher might even hit a home run one of these days. Dark’s response set in motion one of the weirdest coincidences in baseball history: “Mark my words,” he said, “a man will land on the moon before Gaylord Perry hits a home run.”
And if you don’t believe that, here’s Perry telling the story himself:
Happy Stat-urday! Happy Moon Landing Day!