One of the top relief pitchers of the 1960s, southpaw Ron Perranoski put out more fires than the film crew on Backdraft. A two-time saves leader, Perranoski was a member of two World Champion teams with the Dodgers in the mid 1960s and pitched the Minnesota Twins to back-to-back ALCS appearances in 1969 and 1970.
Ron joined the Dodgers in 1961 and fashioned a 2.64 ERA as a rookie. He made one start as a rookie and would spend the remainder of his career in the bullpen, never again starting another game at the Major League level. Hall of Fame skipper Walter Alston used Ron in an NL best 70 games in 1962 and the southpaw rewarded Alston by finishing second in the senior circuit in the saves department.
Perranoski again led the National League in games pitched when Alston handed him the ball in 69 contests. Ron saved 21 games and fashioned a 16-3 record, which gave him an NL best .842 winning percentage. He posted a miniscule 1.67 ERA while leading the Dodgers to the World Series. In the Fall Classic, Ron saved Game 2 as the Dodgers toppled the Yankees for the title.
He won his second World Series ring in 1965 when Ron posted a 2.23 ERA during the regular season and saved 17 games. A fireman does his job well when he keeps the opposition from reaching base and Ron did just that, averaging a slim 0.810 hits per inning in ’65. Alston used Perranoski in an NL best 70 games in 1967 and Ron posted a nifty 2.45 ERA. Despite his reliability in the bullpen, the Dodgers dealt Ron with catcher Johnny Roseboro to the Twins for pitcher Mudcat Grant and former MVP Zoilo Versalles.
The trade worked out well for the Twins. In 1969, Ron helped the Twins reach the postseason by pacing the American League with 31 saves. He fashioned a trim 2.10 ERA and owned the stuff that eluded bats, averaging just 0.708 hits per inning. Ron was just as good in 1970. He enjoyed his second straight year of leading the AL in saves when he notched 34.
Perranoski got off to a rocky start in 1971 and the Twins waived him and he caught on with Detroit. He pitched for three different teams in his last two years. After his playing days, Ron became Tommy Lasorda’s pitching coach for the Dodgers and taught such notable hurlers as Orel Hershiser, Fernando Valenzuela, Bob Welch and fellow fireman Alejandro Pena.
W 79/L 74/PCT .516/SV 179/G 737/IP 1,176/H 1,097/BB 468/SO 687/ERA 2.79