Former starting pitcher Jim Perry is the lone selection to the franchise Hall of Fame this year, voted in by a committee consisting of local and national BBWAA members, team officials, previous inductees, and fans. He will be inducted in a special ceremony prior to the game against the Rangers on June 11th. Perry’s induction into the Twins’ HOF is long overdue. According to baseball-reference.com, Perry is 11th all-time on the franchise list of pitching WAR leaders, with 22.2. He spent ten seasons with the Twins, going 128-90 with a 3.15 ERA, winning one Cy Young award, appearing in two All-Star games, and leading the team to the AL pennant in 1965.
Perry had already established himself as one of the American Leagues’ top pitchers when he was traded to the Twins in May of 1963. He was signed by the Indians as an amateur free agent in 1959, and pitched so well in his rookie season that he finished second to future teammate Bob Allison in ROY voting. However, he did have a couple of rough seasons in 1961 and 1962, posting ERAs of 4.71 and 4.14, prompting the Indians to cut bait and trade him for a promising young prospect in Jack Kralick. Kralick had some decent seasons in the Cleve, posting an ERA+ of 103 in five seasons, but Perry blossomed in Minny, posting a 113 ERA+ over the next nine years. Though he didn’t fare so well in the postseason (6.75 ERA in three appearances), he played no small role in helping the Twins get there. He was shifted to the rotation to replace an injured Camilo Pascual during the 1965 pennant chase, holding opponents to a .361 slugging percentage and posting a 2,45 ERA down the stretch. The Twins won the pennant, but lost to the Dodgers in the World Series. Perry would also help pitch the team to the postseason in 1969 and 1970, when he posted an ERA+ of 131 and125, respectively, but the team would ultimately lose in the ALCS to Baltimore both times.
After a couple of relatively disappointing seasons in 1971 and 1972, Perry was traded to Detroit for pitching prospect Danny Fife and cash. Fife never did pan out, but Perry’s best years were behind him at that point. He went 14-13 with a 4.03 ERA with the Tigers in 1973, then was re-acquired by the Indians in a blockbuster, 3-team deal that sent Jerry Moses to the Tigers and Ed Farmer, Rick Sawyer, and Walt Williams to the Yankees. Perry had one more good season with Cleveland in 1974, posting a 2.96 ERA and 122 ERA+, but that was it. He was traded to Oakland in May of 1975, posted a 5.38 ERA, then was released in August. Perry finished his 17-year career with a 3.45 ERA, 109 complete games, 32 shutouts, a 106 ERA+, 1,576 strikeouts, and 3,285.2 innings pitched. While those numbers might be quite short of Cooperstown standards, he is clearly one of the best pitchers in franchise history.