Friday, September 6, 2013

Carlos Perez Autographed Card

His MLB career was short-lived - 5 seasons in 6 years, one season, 1996, completely lost to injury - but he shall be remembered, especially in Montréal. The younger brother of Pascual Perez and Melido Perez, Carlos Perez burst onto the scene in 1995, finishing 4th in Rookie Of The Year voting, but - more importantly - getting named to the All-Star Game as the lone Montréal Expos representative.

In his first 13 games, he went 7-1 with a 2.30 ERA and a 5:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, reminiscent to Montréal fans of his brother Pascual. He played himself into the middle of the rotation, and ended up with a winning record (10-8) on a losing team (66-78). And while the elder Perez had a rainbow ball that was otherworldly, Carlos had a split-fingered fastball and a crazy change-up that confused batters. He also had a habit of over-celebrating every strikeout by out-monkeying the umpire... which could anger opposing batters. And on a team with Pedro Martinez who had a knack for hitting batters on the noggin, the Expos built a reputation as arrogant kids with attitude problems. But they had the full support of the fans.

I snagged this card in a trade last week, after failing to purchase it on time on Ebay - it cost me an autographed Dennis Martinez, but I had a spare one:
It's card #317 from Donruss' 1996 Donruss Series 1 (a set I didn't collect that year), the Rated Rookies sub-set. It shows him wearing the Expos' wonderful grey uniform they wore on the road in their last decade or so.

After a league-leading 5-shutout performance in 1997, he struggled in 1998, which led to his being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, where his statistics would plummet for his last two-and-a-half seasons in the majors. His 1999 season was particularly disastrous, as he went 2-10 in 17 games, with only 40 strikeouts and a 7.43 ERA. He retired from the majors following the 2000 season, but was still playing in the Dominican Republic as late as 2009.

In his autobiography called Game Over, Éric Gagné says that Perez, a teammate with the Dodgers, never carried less than half a million dollars in cash on him at all times.

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