Today is the birthday of former Chicago Cubs pitcher Pat Perry. Perry was a member of the Cubs when I was a youngster first getting interested in baseball. He also hailed from my home state of Illinois, and I’ve always been enamored by big leaguers from the Land of Lincoln, especially “down state” cities and towns.
Taylorville sits in central Illinois between Springfield and Decatur. Pat Perry isn’t the most notable son of the city, as that title would probably go to Johnny Orr. Orr is best known as the head basketball coach of the Michigan Wolverines and Iowa State Cyclones from 1968 to 1994.
Back to Pat. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the second round of the January phase of the 1978 MLB Draft. Perry made his big league debut on September 12, 1985 for the Cardinals against the Mets, and picked up his first win four days later.
Perry would later play for the Cincinnati Reds before being traded to the Cubs on May 19, 1988 for Leon Durham.
Perry appeared in 54 games for the Cubs during the 1988 and 1989 seasons. In 1988, he went 2-2 with a 3.32 ERA out of the bullpen. But the highlight may have been at the plate.
That home run, the only one of his career, occurred on August 6, 1988. Perry’s long ball was hit off teammate Greg Maddux’s brother, Mike Maddux.
For the 1989 season, Perry went 0-1 with one save and a 1.77 ERA in 35.2 innings, though he did spend time on the disabled list parts of June and July.
Later in the season, Perry made some comments that may have come back to hurt him after the year was done. This was printed in the August 29, 1989 edition of the Chicago Tribune.
On the plus side in 1989, Perry had a string of more than 21 consecutive shutout innings, and was certainly a fan favorite, especially in central Illinois.
Ultimately, Perry was released by the Cubs on December 13, 1989. He still showed up on 1990 baseball cards as a Cub.
He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers about six weeks later and appeared in only seven games in 1990 – his final year in Major League Baseball. The former Taylorville Tornado played at AAA in the Phillies, Padres, and Royals organizations in 1991, 1992, and 1995.