Tony Perez – 1965 Topps Rookie Card
Tony Perez was a late season call-up by the Cincinnati Reds in 1964 from the San Diego Padres, who were the club’s AAA affiliate in the Pacific Coast League.
Perez played in just 24 games late in the season, but the promotion put the second piece of the Big Red Machine in Cincinnati during Pete Rose’s second season.
By 1965, Perez made the Cincinnati roster out of spring training, but split time with veteran first baseman Gordy Coleman. Despite sharing time with the popular Coleman, Perez played in 104 games and batted .260 with 73 hits, 12 home runs and 47 runs batted in.
The Big Doggie continued to split time with Coleman during the 1966 season before taking over the Reds’ first base job full-time in 1967.
During his first season as Cincinnati’s everyday first baseman, Perez played in 156 games and batted .290 with 174 hits, 26 home runs and 102 RBIs.
That season, Perez made a name for himself by earning a spot on the National League’s squad in the 1967 All-Star Game. The game became a 15 inning affair before Perez belted a home run off fellow future hall of famer Jim “Catfish” Hunter en-route to a National League victory and being named the game’s most valuable player.
The end of the 1967 season marked the first appearance of another fixture of the Big Red Machine. Nineteen-year old Johnny Bench was called up for the latter part of the season and appeared in 26 games.