Gaylord Perry and the Moon Landing

Image Courtesy of MLB

Christopher McAllister, Staff Writer

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If you know baseball, you may have clicked on this article and thought, “What could a Hall of Fame pitcher who is in the top 10 in career strikeouts have anything to do with NASA, the moon landing, and astronomy in general?” Well, my dear reader, listen closely to the tale of the spitballer and his relation to the moon landing.

Gaylord Perry was the last spitballer pitcher. His twenty-one-year career saw him dominate the stats and make his way into the hall of fame. He was an excellent pitcher, but his hitting was nowhere near what his pitching talent was. He dominated with some slight rule-breaking tactics (as a spitballer he would put anything on the ball to make it less visible) and it got him two young wins. But his hitting was not great. He hit .131 over his career with 48 career hits and 6 home runs. Over 22 years this is not a good hitting stat line, but his first home run is where our focus shall lie.

Alvin Dark, manager of the San Francisco Giants, said that a man would land on the moon before Gaylord Perry hit a home run. Perry had spent seven years on the Giants at the time when he hit his first home run but the timing of it makes it most interesting. At 20:17 UTC, Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. About 20 minutes later, at Candlestick Park, Gaylord Perry hit his first long ball. Alvin Dark predicted the future in the wackiest way possible.

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