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Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry, master of the spitball and two time Cy Young winner, dies at 84

One of baseball's legends has passed away. Baseball Hall of Famer and two-time Cy Young Award winner Gaylord Perry died at 84 at his home in Gaffney, South Carolina, according to Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler.

A statement from his family said he "passed away peacefully at home after a short illness," but offered no further details. In his illustrious MLB career, Perry made history as the first pitcher to win the Cy Young in both leagues. He did it with Cleveland in 1972 and with San Diego in 1978.

"Before I won my second Cy Young, I thought I was too old, I didn't think the writers would vote for me," Perry said at the time. "But they voted for my performance, so I won it."

Baseball world pays tribute to him

"Gaylord Perry was a consistent workhorse and a memorable figure in his Hall of Fame career," said MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. "He will be remembered among the most successful San Francisco Giants in history and remained a popular teammate and friend throughout his life," he added.

One of his teammates on the San Francisco Giants, fellow legenarian Willie Mays, commented: "He was a good man, a good ballplayer and my good friend. Farewell, old friend.

Juan Marichal remembered Perry as "smart, funny and kind to everyone in the clubhouse. When he talked, you listened".

A career not without controversy

Perry played for eight major league teams between 1962 and 1983, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991. His record was 314-255, with 3,534 strikeouts. But he is also remembered for having a pitching style in which he doctored baseballs, or so he led hitters to believe.

He is remembered for being a master of the so-called "spitball," which he learned from Bob Shaw and which would become his signature style.

Perry used the spitball until 1968, when MLB ruled that pitchers could no longer touch their fingers to their mouths before touching the baseball. In his biography, he related that he then sought other substances, such as petroleum jelly, to cure the ball.

In his career, Perry was only ejected once, in 1982, for tampering with a baseball. After retiring, he founded the baseball program at Limestone College in Gaffney and coached it for the first three years.

He is survived by his wife Deborah and three of his four children, Allison, Amy and Beth.

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