Legendary Reliever Ron Perranoski Passes Away at 84


One of the Dodgers’ greatest left-handed relievers of all-time, Ron Perranoski, passed away at the age of 84 Friday night at his home in Vero Beach, FL.

Perranoski, who was born Ronald Peter Perranoski on April 1, 1936, in Paterson, NJ, was instrumental in leading the Dodgers during their string of pennants and World Championship between 1963 and 1966 as the ace of their bullpen.

“Ron Perranoski played a major role in the success of the Dodgers as a great reliever and a mentor to many great young pitchers over his 30-year career in the organization,” said Dodgers President & CEO Stan Kasten.

“Perry,” as he was called, played in the major leagues from 1961 to 1973, signed with the Chicago Cubs out of Michigan State University on June 9, 1958, coming to the Dodgers on April 8, 1960 in a trade for Don Zimmer. In 13 years in the big leagues, he had a 79-74 career record with 178 saves and a 2.79 ERA.

Perranoski played for the Dodgers (1961-67, 1972), Twins (1968-71), Tigers (1971-72) and Angels (1973).

His greatest year with the Dodgers came in 1963, when he won 16 of 19 relief decisions and helped the Dodgers sweep the New York Yankees in the World Series. He led the league in appearances with 69 and had 21 saves to go with a 1.67 ERA and a 16-3 record.

Perranoski led the league in appearances three times—1962 with 70, 1963 with 69 and 1967 with 70. He also led the American League in saves with Minnesota with 31 in 1969 and 34 in 1970.

Following his career, Perranoski served the Dodgers as their minor league pitching coordinator from 1973 to 1980 and became the Dodgers pitching coach for 14 years from 1981-94. He was instrumental in the success of Dodger pitching greats Orel Hershiser and Fernando Valenzuela.

Perranoski is survived by his sister, Pat Zailo of Fairfield, NJ and three sons—“Pope” Perranoski of Orange, CA, Brad Perranoski of Palos Verdes, CA and Michael Perranoski of Thousand Oaks, CA.

Here’s a personal memento of Perry from my 1964 Topps collection:



On Thursday, “Sweet” Lou Johnson, who hit a key home run for the victorious Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the 1965 World Series against Minnesota, passed away last at the age of 86.

Johnson, who was born Louis Brown Johnson in Lexington, KY on Sept. 22, 1934, received the nickname Sweet Lou upon joining the Dodgers early in 1965 after outfielder Tommy Davis suffered an injury. Johnson received the nickname because of his infectious smile and because he was always clapping his hands.

“Lou Johnson was such a positive inspiration at Dodger Stadium with our employees and our fans as well as throughout the community in the appearances he made on behalf of the organization,” said Kasten. “Dodger fans will always remember his important home run in Game 7 of the 1965 World Series, when he was clapping his hands running around the bases.”

Johnson played 17 seasons in professional baseball including eight years in the majors with the Chicago Cubs (1960, ‘68), Angels (1961, ‘69), Milwaukee Braves (1962), Dodgers (1965-67) and Cleveland Indians (1968).

Johnson played in 677 games and hit .258 with 48 homers and 232 RBI in his career and helped the Dodgers to two postseason berths in 1965 and 1966. In 1965, he was called up and hit .259 with 24 doubles, 12 homers. 58RBI and 15 stolen bases. Johnson also recorded the lone Dodgers’ hit and scored the lone run in Sandy Koufax’s perfect game on Sept. 9, 1965 against the Chicago Cubs.

Between his time as a player and a front office employee in the Community Relations Department, Johnson worked for the Dodgers for 40 seasons. He lived in Los Angeles and is survived by his wife Sarah and children Lauren, Carlton and Quinton.

(Both Juan Dorado and Ally Savage provided some information furnished in this report)

17 thoughts on “Legendary Reliever Ron Perranoski Passes Away at 84

  1. We’ve now lost three ex-Dodgers in the last week: Perranoski, Sweet Lous and Jay Johnstone, not to mention Bob Gibson (would have loved to have had him in a Dodger uni). Not a good time to be an ex-big leaguer.

    1. 84, 84 and 86. May we all be lucky enough to live that long. Only Johnstone (74) didn’t make it to the average life span of the American male (78).

      You know, we are going to see more of this. A lot of Dodger legends we watched as kids, are in their late 70s and 80s. Brings it home for those of us who are nearing that age.

      1. Yep, getting old is no fun, but man the memory’s we have today’s kids can only read about. I got to see Mays and Mantle in thier prime. Caught the end of Williams and Musial. Saw Pete Rose and Ichiro their entire careers and have seen all of the Dodgers championships. Ya can’t put a price on that.

      2. “You can’t put a price on that”.

        Sure you can Bear.

        Arthritis and memory loss.

        In ‘72 I took a cross country trip in my ‘59 VW bus. Los Alamitos to Long Island via Albuquerque, Texas and Texan coos, New Orleans and the Mardi Gras, Auburn University, Atlanta, Washington DC….. you get the idea. What a trip. What I can remember of it anyway. We had bag of Panamanian Red with us. Anyway, we stoped in Ferrum Virginia, where my buddy had gone to school one year (we actually met in ‘69 on the football field in Nebraska, he was dodging the draft, I was just out of the Marine Corps). So in Virginia we hook up with a couple of young coeds, beautiful young coeds, went to a concert where I remember being in a conga line and banging the drummers symbol with my bare hand as we passed by the band. Next thing I remember is being in the bus with those two freshman coeds getting stoned listening to Won’t Get Fooled Again by The Who blasting away from the four speakers in my 8 track system. “We’ll be fighting in the streets, with our children at our feet, and the morals that they worship will be gone.” I can’t remember much else so I called my buddy, who now lives in Florida, to ask him to help fill in the blanks. His memory? Nothing. He says to me “that was 50 f’n years ago. I can’t remember ****!!” I’m certain only of knowing I had a great time that night.

        My point? I don’t remember.

        The price you pay for living long enough to forget details from 50 years ago.

      3. Sometimes a bad memory is a good thing.
        I know a lot of people who aren’t going to want to remember 2020.

    1. Wow, some people are just going over the edge. Funny, I do not even remember this guy pitching for LA. But 2010 was my last year on the road, so I was not following as close.

      1. If I recall correctly, he was working on a knuckle ball with Charlie Hough while he was on the team. I remember hoping he’d have success with it because knuckle ball pitchers are always fun to watch. What a sad ending.

      2. Yes it was. I have been touched by it a couple of times in my life. A really good friend who was a Viet Nam vet did it in the early 80’s VA had taken his disability away after giving it back about 2 years earlier. He had just gotten married to a wonderful lady, and was depressed because he had fought so hard to get it in the first place. Had taken him something like 8 years. I sang Amazing Grace at his funeral at the VA cemetery that is just off of the 5 freeway near UCLA.

      3. I haven’t had any real interaction with the VA and I know that some vets have been helped by it, but from what I’ve read it should probably be completely overhauled. Vets put their lives on the line for us and when they return are just considered an afterthought, except when politicians can make some use of them for campaign purposes.
        Maybe after the upcoming election someone will actually get to work on putting things right.

      4. I use it all the time. They have actually over hauled it a lot. We also get off site care if they do not offer it. I use a local vision center since they closed the one at the Pueblo office. And they did my cataract surgery also. There is a brand new VA hospital in Denver. State of the Art. They are definitely better now than when I first started using them in 2011.

      5. The VA saved my life. I’ll spare the details but without their help I’m sure I would be gone or living under a bridge somewhere. I thank the universe daily for my blessings.

      6. Considering the stimulating conversation with which you provide me here and on a couple of other sites, I hereby thank the VA for saving your life.

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