“It’s like making the major leagues,” Perry said in 2013 when the stadium was rededicated in his honor. “I didn’t know many years ago when I came to Campbell that this was going to happen.”
Perry made it big in the major leagues, becoming the first Minnesota Twins pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in 1970, a moment judged the greatest in Campbell’s sports history.
“I made it to the majors, because I made it to Campbell,” Perry said. “This college gave me the opportunity to chase my dreams.”
He attended Campbell from 1956-59, when it was a junior college, and pitched one season for the baseball team and played basketball. He also met his wife at Campbell.
“This is a very special place for my wife and I,” he said in 2012. “The good Lord above has given us the ability and the opportunity to give back and help Campbell University.”
Perry left in 1959 for the Cleveland Indians and spent 17 years in the American League, winning 215 games while striking out 1,576 batters in 3,286 innings. He also hurled 32 shutouts and compiled a 3.45 ERA.
“I was a guy that just liked to work hard,” Perry said in 2011 when he was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame.
“I ran a lot. I think the pitchers have to run a lot like I did. When I went to spring training I felt like I had to make the team, although I had made the team before that. That made me work harder for when I was called on.”
He was a two-time All-Star with the Twins and was a key member of Minnesota’s first World Series team in 1965, going 12-7 with a 2.63 ERA.
Perry’s brother Gaylord, a Baseball Hall of Famer, attended Campbell from 1958-60 but he did not play for the baseball team. They are the only brothers in major league history to win Cy Young Awards.
Above: Jim Perry on the mound for Campbell. (Courtesy Campbell University Archives)
THIS WEEK’S GREATEST MOMENTS
• Monday: Campbell
• Tuesday: Central Arkansas and Central Florida
• Wednesday: Central Michigan and College of Charleston
• Thursday: Charleston Southern and Charlotte
• Friday: Chattanooga and Chicago State