Perez pitched in the majors from 1980 to 1991 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Atlanta Braves, Montreal Expos and the New York Yankees. He was a very flamboyant character with his long curly hair, a penchant for peaking between his legs to check on the runners, a version of the Eephus pitch as well as a habit of sprinting to the dugout at the end of an inning. Perez was always fun to watch.
But he was enigmatic. Perez once missed a start because he could not find Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Perez was also one of the central characters in an infamous brawl between the Braves and San Diego Padres during the 1984 season. After Perez hit Alan Wiggins with a pitch to begin the game, it took the Padres pitching staff four at bats to plunk him. He also had a pretty serious drug problem which earned him a couple of suspensions. This was infuriating because he was so talented and could, at times, be absolutely brilliant on the mound.
He was named to his only NL All-Star Team in 1983, a season in which he went 15-8 with a respectable 3.43 ERA with the Braves. He followed that campaign with a 14-8 record with a ERA of 3.74 in 1984. But he absolutely collapsed in 1985 going 1-13 with a horrific 6.14 ERA.
After missing the entire 1986 season, the Expos took a chance on him in 1987. The gamble paid off. Perez came up in mid-season going 7-0 with a sterling 2.30 ERA. In 1988, he followed that up with 12-8 record with a 2.44 ERA. After falling to 9-13 (with a still respectable ERA of 3.31), Perez signed a contract with the Yankees but only appeared in 17 games over two seasons.
Here is a YouTube tribute to Perez during his days with the Expos.
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