Inaugural Limestone Baseball Coach Gaylord Perry To Be Inducted Into S.C. Athletic Hall Of Fame On May 23

Charles Wyatt
Gaylord Perry

Former Limestone University baseball coach Gaylord Perry, who headlined the seven-member class of the 2020 South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame, will be officially inducted during a special ceremony on Monday, May 23, at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

The induction was postponed in 2020 and then again in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The newly elected four-member Class of 2022 will also be inducted during the ceremony on May 23. Because of the pandemic, the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame did not elect a class from 2021.

A legendary pitcher for eight different Major League Baseball teams, Perry is going into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame (SCAHOF) for his accomplishments as the head coach of the Saints baseball team. 

The rest of the Class of 2020 includes University of South Carolina quarterback Todd Ellis, Clemson running back C.J. Spiller, Columbia defensive end/linebacker Peter Boulware, South Carolina State University basketball standout Roberta Williams, University of South Carolina pitcher Ed Lynch, and Hilton Head infielder Dan Driessen. Perry’s election into the SCAHOF in 2020 came prior to Limestone moving from college to university status.

The Class of 2022 includes Gaffney native and University of South Carolina wide receiver Sidney Rice, Blacksburg native and former UNC Charlotte director of athletics Judy Wilkins Rose, Clemson University athletic trainer Fred Hoover, and former Wofford College head football coach Mike Ayers.

The mission of the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame is to honor those who, by outstanding achievement or service, have made lasting contributions to the cause of sports in South Carolina, the nation, and the entire world. The non-profit organization in based in Columbia. The annual SCAHOF Banquet is considered the largest annual celebration of Palmetto State sports stars under one roof.

The members of the Class of 2020 and Class of 2022 will take part in a private SCAHOF President’s Reception in Columbia during the evening of Sunday, May 22. They will also attend an Inductee Luncheon the next day, followed by a press conference at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The Induction Ceremony and Banquet will begin on May 23 with a reception at 5:30 p.m. The traditional introduction of past inductees, the Walk of Legends, is one of the event’s highlights.

Tickets and program sponsorships for the induction ceremony and banquet on May 23 are available until April 15 by visiting

“What a tremendous honor it was for both Gaylord and Limestone when he was elected into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 2020,” said the University’s President Dr. Darrell Parker. “We are now looking forward to his official induction this May. It is also exciting for us that two Cherokee County natives, Sidney Rice and Judy Wilkins Rose, will also be inducted that same night.

“While almost everyone knows that Gaylord was one of the greatest pitchers in Major League Baseball history, it’s truly a privilege for us that he is being inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame not so much for what he did on the mound during his playing career, but for the impact he made at Limestone and the influence he had on the lives of our students,” Parker added. “We are blessed to count Gaylord Perry as one of our own here at Limestone. He continues to be a special part of this institution.”

Perry founded the Limestone baseball program in 1987 and led the Saints for four seasons, compiling an overall 81-57 (.587) mark and three 20-win seasons. He recruited the first players in program history, including future Limestone Hall of Famers Mike Flaskey and Tracy Sanders.

Perry guided the Saints to a respectable 17-21 record in the inaugural season. His teams posted winning records in each of the following three seasons, while the 1990 team still holds the school record for the highest single-season winning percentage (.697). He mentored three All-NAIA District 6 selections, including Sanders, who was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 1990 draft.

As part of developing the program, Perry also helped secure the funding for the baseball field still being used by the Saints.

Started in 2019, the Gaylord Perry Scholarship is awarded annually by Limestone’s Scholarship Award Committee to one or more members of the Saints baseball team.

In 1991, Perry was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, and seven years later, he was inducted into the Limestone Athletics Hall of Fame.

He played a key role in the $4 million renovation process for Limestone’s Winnie Davis Hall of History. Perry was an honorary chairman of that fundraising campaign because he was instrumental in securing funds to protect the building from deterioration in the late 80s and early 90s.

A native of Williamston, N.C., Perry pitched 22 years in the big leagues and became the first pitcher to win the highly coveted Cy Young Award in both the American and National Leagues. He accomplished that feat in 1972 with the Cleveland Indians and again in 1978 with the San Diego Padres. Those accomplishments, along with his 314 career victories, 3,534 strikeouts, 3.11 earned run average, and five All-Star Game selections, earned him a spot in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

The San Francisco Giants dedicated a nine-foot, bronze statue, weighing 1,400 pounds, in honor of the 6-foot-4 Perry in August of 2016, at one of the major entrances into AT&T Park. The sculpture, which took one year to complete, portrays Perry’s intensity and focus on the mound at the point of his follow through. His number 36 was retired by the Giants in 2005.  

Accompanying photo: Gaylord Perry speaking during the presentation of his namesake Limestone student scholarship in May of 2020.