Wednesday, May 08, 2013

#484 Ron Perranoski

#484 Ron Perranoski photo perranoski_zps769ac791.jpg
Here's the penultimate card in our long journey, and this time I'm serious. This is a visually striking card; you don't see many crowd shots in 1960's Topps sets. The blurry folks milling around in the stands behind Ron Perranoski make the player pop out in the foreground. I also like Ron's sideways glance, as though the photographer has been putting him through the motions for quite some time. A teammate passes, gives Perranoski a knowing smirk, and Ron shoots him a look that says, "Can you believe this guy? I just want to finish my warmups."

Fun facts about Ron Perranoski:

-Ron was born in Paterson, NJ (as Ron Perzanowski) and attended Michigan State University before signing with the Cubs in 1958.

-His cousin, Stan Perzanowski, pitched in 37 games for the White Sox, Rangers, and Twins between 1971 and 1978.

-The Cubs traded him to the Dodgers in April 1960 as part of a three-for-one deal that sent Don Zimmer to Chicago. He debuted with L.A. a year later and was a bullpen fixture from the start, appearing in 53 games with a 7-5 record, six saves, and a 2.65 ERA.

-1963 was Perranoski's standout season, as he posted a 16-3 record in relief with 21 saves and a 1.67 ERA. He paced the National League in winning percentage (.842) and games pitched (69), and finished fourth in MVP balloting. In the Dodgers' World Series sweep over the Yankees, the lefty nailed down a save in Game Two by getting the final two outs in relief of Johnny Podres.

-As you might imagine, the career-long reliever wasn't much of a hitter. In 190 career plate appearances, he had a batting line of .096/.147/.114 with three RBI. However, he did hit a triple on September 4, 1966 off of the Reds' Don Nottebart. I would've liked to have seen him run the bases!

-In all, Ron spent eight years in Los Angeles, posting a 54-41 record, 101 saves, and a 2.56 ERA.

-The Twins acquired the relief ace in November 1967, parting with former A.L. MVP Zoilo Versalles and 20-game winner Jim "Mudcat" Grant and receiving Perranoski, John Roseboro, and Bob Miller.

-Ron led the American League in saves in both the 1969 and 1970 seasons, with 31 and 34 respectively. Though the Twins captured the first two Western Division crowns in A.L. history, they ran into the Baltimore juggernaut in the postseason in each year. The league's top fireman allowed a total of eight runs in seven innings as the Orioles swept Minnesota twice.

-The final three years of Ron's career saw him move from the Twins to the Tigers, then back to the Dodgers briefly, before an eight-game stint with the Angels in 1973 signaled the end of the road. In 13 seasons, he was 79-74 with 179 saves and a 2.79 ERA.

-Perranoski found a home in the Dodgers' organization after retiring as a player. He was the club's minor league pitching coordinator (1973-1980) and big league pitching coach (1981-1994) for more than two decades before joining the rival Giants in 1995. He's been with San Francisco ever since, serving as minor league pitching coordinator, major league bench coach and pitching coach, and finally as a special assistant to general manager Brian Sabean.
#484 Ron Perranoski photo perranoskib_zpsd6656b6e.jpg