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What happened to…1995 All-Star Carlos Perez?

with 3 comments

Field of Greed.The 1994 Major League Baseball strike left such a sour taste in my mouth that I couldn’t stomach the game when it finally returned in April 1995.

The period between the onset of the strike and August 1998 (when the home run record chase heated up) symbolizes a truly “dark” period in baseball for me.

It’s as if it didn’t happen. It’s blacked out.

There were a ton of memorable moments I missed. When the Montreal Expo’s Pedro Martinez pitched nine no-hit innings before giving up a hit in the bottom of the 10th on June 3, 1995, I wasn’t watching. When New York Yankee David Wells pitched a perfect game against the Minnesota Twins on May 17, 1998, I didn’t care.

I missed superstar’s prime years. Greg Maddux’s 19-2, 1.63 campaign in 1995. Edgar Martinez’s .356 clinic in Seattle in 1995. Ken Griffey, Jr.’s last healthy seasons.

I missed the game’s newest, most electric, characters too.

Carlos Perez is the best example of that.

Perez, a left-hander, burst onto the scene in 1995 with the Montreal Expos. He quickly became a fan favorite, known for his Mark “The Bird” Fidrych-like antics on the mound. When he threw a strike, he pumped a celebratory fist. When he struck someone out, he’d punch them out along with the umpire. Perez would sometimes jump in the air, spin, and do all of this in unison. And while his routine was cause for controversy among opponents, it made him incredibly popular.

So when Perez started the 1995 season 7-2 with a 3.26 ERA, he was a natural choice for the National League All-Star team.

Perez didn’t change his schtick for national television. When he came into the game during the bottom of the seventh inning, he promptly gave up a single to Baltimore’s Cal Ripken, Jr. That didn’t stop him from pumping his fist on a called first strike to the next batter, Kansas City’s Kevin Seitzer. When he got Seitzer to fly out, he reveled in the moment, a blur of spinning, yelling, and fist pumping. The announcers ate it up and so did the fans.

Once a sensation, now a scumbag.By the time Perez left the game, recording just one out while walking one and giving up one hit, he was a sensation.

During the second half, Perez made 12 more starts, finishing the year 10-8 with a 3.69 ERA.

And while Perez pitched admirably for the rest of his career (1 1/2 more seasons with Montreal, then two full seasons with the Dodgers), that All-Star game would certainly be the high point of his career.

At the end of the 1995 season, Perez was accused of rape and sodomy in Atlanta, Ga.

He missed all of 1996 with a shoulder injury.

He never again posted a win/loss percentage over .500.

In a July 1999 game as a member of the Dodgers, Perez walked the Pirate’s eighth, ninth, and leadoff batters. He was pulled from the game and received a mock standing ovation from the crowd of nearly 30,000. Once in the dugout, Perez lost his cool, ripped a bat from the racks and proceeded to beat a water cooler. He hit it 14 times on his way to becoming an ESPN punchline.

He attacked and strangled a flight attendant on a Dodger’s team charter in 2000.

He was convicted of drunk driving later that year.

He somehow accrued two more rape charges, but managed to avoid jail for any extended period of time.

Perez has continued to pitch sporadically for most of the past decade in the Dominican Republic and he even made an appearance in the World Baseball Classic. As recently as 2004, Perez was extended an invitation to Spring Training with the Detroit Tigers.

It’s believed that Perez has burned too many bridges, raped too many girls, or done too much stupid crap to make a return to the majors despite still being fairly effective. Once of the brightest talents in the major leagues, Perez deserves his reputation as nothing more than short-tempered water cooler beater.


3 Responses

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  1. Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.


    November 23, 2009 at 7:48 am

  2. knowing what we now know about PEDs… think this guy’s extreme emotional rollercoaster and attitude could have been influenced by some ‘roids?

    i know everyone loses there cool, taking a swing at the water cooler or throwing a knuckle sandwich at the dugout wall, and of course everybody is entitled to get excited over success, but this guy seems a little too over-the-top to NOT have been affected by PEDs

    overall, just another flash in the pan


    April 24, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    • Oh, it totally could have been, but we’ll never know. Carlos Perez was a character before he even made it to the big leagues so my guess is it was just a hyper-exaggeration of that.


      April 25, 2010 at 6:48 pm

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