The Big Dog

“I played with a lot of great players, especially in Cincinnati. We won Championships and World Series and I am proud of that.”
Hall of Famer Tony Perez

Tony Perez played in the Major Leagues for more than 20 years. Perez batted .279 with 379 Home Runs and 1,652 Runs Batted In. Tony Perez was a seven-time All-Star who was the A.S. Game’s Most Valuable Player in 1967. With the Cincinnati Reds, Perez played on four Pennant Winners and two World Championship teams. He also played for the 1983 Pennant winning Philadelphia Phillies. Tony Perez was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2000.

Numbers do not define Tony Perez. He was a clutch hitter who consistently drove in big runs. Tony knocked in 100 or more runs in a season seven times. My favorite quote about Tony Perez came from one of his former managers with the Reds, Dave Bristol. Bristol said, “If the game lasts long enough, Tony Perez will find a way to win it!” That quote says it all. Tony Perez also was a great leader. He would crack a smile after a game when he would remind a young player of “a cutoff man that was missed”. Or “a base running mistake” that was made. The World Champion Cincinnati Reds traded Tony Perez after the 1976 season. Many people, myself included, feel that is why the Reds did not win again in 1977, despite the acquisition of the great Tom Seaver. I recently spent some time with Tony when he came to Indianapolis. Tony Perez has not changed at all. He exudes warmth, friendliness and class.

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