Did Neil Armstrong Help Gaylord Perry Get His First Career Home Run?

With the passing of Neil Armstrong, it seems a fitting time to discuss one of baseball's more endearing urban legends. For years it's been said that someone—either Gaylord Perry himself or his manager, Alvin Dark—said that there would be a man on the moon before Gaylord Perry would hit a home run.

On July 20 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon. Wouldn't you know it, Gaylord Perry hit his very first home run on July 20 1969 in the third inning off the Dodgers' Claude Osteen.

The timing of the prediction ranges from 1962 to 1964. Some versions of the legend have Perry saying it about himself. Perry, however, would later credit Dark with the taunt in Strike Two, a 1984 book by umpire Ron Luciano. Perry claims Dark made the remark in response to sports writer Harry Jupiter pointing out that Perry showed good power in batting practice.

Snopes has the legend in the "undetermined" status, because, as you can see, while it is clear the home run came on the same day, it is virtually impossible to prove who said what and when. There's no denying the two men are cosmically connected though. Perry, is perhaps most famous for (shamelessly) throwing a spitball. Just two days ago was the 30th anniversary of his first ejection for having a doctored ball after more than 650 career starts. Oh, and they each have their own urban legends.