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Card-by-Yankees Card: The 1977 Topps Set, Cards #438, Marty Perez (Article 81)

by Paul Semendinger

(Continuing a series…)



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***

Marty Perez was one of the players that confused me the most when I was a young Yankees fan.

I had never heard of Marty, but that wasn’t what confused me. I hadn’t heard of a lot of players.

What confused me was his inclusion in the 1977 Yankees Yearbook.

What was he doing there?

I remember at his page over and over again as I sat, with my dad, and two neighbors, at my very first Yankees game. As we entered the stadium, my dad bought me my first Yankees Yearbook. I remember sitting there trying to look at everything: the stadium, the players, and also the yearbook.

I remember being in awe of everything and also in love with it all.

I still am.

***

Marty Perez was a Yankee for all of one game in 1977. One game.

Of note, he was not the inspiration for my newest book The Least Among Them (a book about the 29 players whose entire Major League career lasted but one game as a Yankee) because I didn’t realize (or at least remember) that he had played only one game as a Yankee until I wrote this article.

What I did not understand as a kid was why Marty Perez was in the yearbook, because by the time I went to my first big league game (May 7, 1977), Perez wasn’t even on the Yankees any longer. (He had been traded in April in the deal that brought Mike Torrez to the Yankees, though I didn’t know that at the time.) It was more simple than that. I simply couldn’t understand why a guy who wasn’t on the team was in the book.

I couldn’t understand why they didn’t update the yearbook regularly.

But what really confused me, what brought this all to light, was the fact that he played in the game I was at – for the opposing A’s. That’s what must have brought it to light to me.

“Hey that guy on the A’s has the same name as a guy in the Yankees Yearbook.”

“Son, that’s the same player.”

“What’s he doing in the Yankees Yearbook?”

“He was a Yankee, but he’s not any longer.”

“So why is he in the book?”

I guess when you’re eight years old some things in the world just don’t make sense.

***

An aside: The Yankees Yearbooks of the late 1970s and into the 1980s were made of terrible material. They would literally fall apart as I read them.

I still have the original yearbook my dad bought me that day, but it’s in sorry shape. A few years ago, I bought a nicer copy and immediately put it in a plastic sleeve.

I took the nicer yearbook out to look up Marty Perez for this article and it immediately started to fall apart.

***

In Marty Perez’s only Yankees game, he played third base against the Orioles. In four at bats, Perez had two hits. He also grounded into a double play and struck out.

***

Marty Perez actually had a lengthy Major League career.

He played in 931 games over ten seasons for five different clubs: the Atlanta Braves (690 games), California Angels (16 games), Oakland A’s (131 games), Yankees (1 game), and the San Francisco Giants (93 games).

***

I spent a lot of time looking at my baseball cards as a kid. I’d read them sort them, sort them some more, and sort them again.

I loved my baseball cards.

I thought that Marty Perez was Tony Perez’s brother.

He wasn’t.

***

For his career, Marty Perez batted .246. He hit 22 homers and drove in 241 runs.

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