Perry looking forward to meeting Kluber, throwing out first pitch

Gaylord Perry was the Indians first Cy Young Award winner in 1972.

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Gaylord Perry has been back to Cleveland to see Indians games recently, but Friday will be special as he will throw out the first pitch for the Indians’ home opener against the Tigers.

It will also be an opportunity for the franchise’s first Cy Young Award winner to welcome Corey Kluber into the club. Perry, who won in 1972, will throw the first pitch to Kluber, who became the Indians’ fourth winner last season. Kluber also will be honored before the game.

"I watched him some last year when he was pitching really well," Perry said. "He’s looked good. He’s a keeper. I’ll say my congratulations and turn things over to him."

Perry still takes pride in being the Indians’ first Cy Young recipient but also acknowledges that had it been around earlier than 1956 that it might have gone to Bob Feller. The award didn’t start getting presented to pitchers in both leagues until 1968.

When Perry won he led the American League in wins (24) and complete games (29) along with being second in earned run average (1.92) and third in strikeouts (234). It also was his first season with Cleveland after being acquired from the Giants for Sam McDowell in 1971.

"When you start 40 games in a season you have to have 25 pretty good starts or you aren’t going to stand a chance," Perry said. "September is an important month too because that shows you are good during the toughest times of the season."

Perry, who pitched for the Indians for three-plus seasons en route to a Hall of Fame career, remains fifth in franchise history in ERA (2.71).

When asked if he might throw a spitball to Kluber for the first pitch, Perry laughed and said: "I’m just going to try not to bounce it. It is amazing the things my brother did that I got blamed for."