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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Ron Perranoski, Third-Best Relief Pitcher in 1950s, Dies at 84

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Ron Perranoski, a 30-year journeyman and former star closer in the Dodgers’ 1960s dynasty, died early Friday in Thousand Oaks, Calif., after a long illness. He was 84.

Perranoski pitched for the Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Senators, Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees. He was the third-best relief pitcher in the major leagues in the 1950s, when he was the American League’s pitching championship winner.

“Ron was a great competitor, a winner, a good guy who didn’t have a mean bone in his body,” said Jamie Moyer, a fellow Dodger who began his 16-year career as Perranoski’s teammate in 1953. “He was one of those guys who was just having fun, that sense of humor.”

Perranoski had a 75-50 record and a 2.23 ERA in 2,539 major league appearances from 1950 through 1970. Among relievers who played 10 years or more, he is among the 14 players with at least 1,000 appearances, and he ranks 15th among relief pitchers for appearances in relation to innings pitched. He also had nearly 2,000 strikeouts.

Mr. Perranoski worked for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1960 to 1968 and the Seattle Mariners from 1972 to 1974. He was 62-34 with the Dodgers and 19-19 for the Mariners. He also pitched for the Chicago White Sox, the Cincinnati Reds, the San Francisco Giants, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Moyer called him “the coolest pitcher I ever saw, with the best arm in baseball, one of the best there ever was.” He praised Mr. Perranoski for his soft landing when things went wrong.

“He had one great moment, and I think he probably could get killed when it wasn’t going so well,” Moyer said. “The inning started real rough, but Ron just swung a hot bat. He got to the plate and hit a line drive to center field that knocked the ball off Dave Winfield’s glove and over into right field. He was still with the team, but they put him in the bullpen a few days later.”

Mr. Perranoski was on the Dodgers’ 1955 World Series team and the same team that won the 1966 World Series.

“Ron Perranoski was a beloved Dodger,” the team said in a statement. “He was a part of some of the most memorable moments in our franchise’s history. . . . We will miss him terribly.”

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