Who did Odalis Pérez play for?
We take a look at the former All-Star pitcher's ten-year career in MLB, where the Dominican left-hander hit incredible highs and troublesome lows
Odalis Pérez popped up onto the nation’s radar when the Braves brought him up in 1998. The young Dominican southpaw worked 10 games in relief that season, finally earning his first win in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Cubs, making him the first pitcher in MLB history to earn a playoff win without a win in the regular season.
Four years later, he was traded to the Dodgers as part of a package for Gary Sheffield. Over the next two seasons, he put on a stellar performance for LA, becoming the first Dodger lefty to win at least 12 in consecutive seasons since Fernando Valenzuela in ’86 and ’87.
True Blue fans will always keep him in their hearts for the August 28, 2002 win over the Diamondbacks. In front of a home crowd, Pérez pitched eight scoreless innings and knocked his first, and ultimately only, career home run to score the only run of the game.
By 2006, the Dodgers front office began to tire of what they saw in his work ethic and attitude, trading him for a song to the Kansas City Royals. After the 2007 season closed, the Royals declined to option him and he signed with the Washington Nationals. After getting the Opening Day start in 2008, he threw the first pitch in the history of Nationals park, struck out the first batter, and gave up the first home run, to Chipper Jones.
That would be his last season in the Show. He agreed a minor league contract with Washington, but had second thoughts and didn’t report for spring training. They chose to release him and his 10 years in the Major Leagues came to an end.
On Thursday, Odalis Perez died after an accident at his home in the Dominican Republic. His attorney, Walin Batista, said that the pitcher apparently fell off a ladder at his house.
"Around 7 p.m., his brother Cristian Perez arrived at the house and found Odalis lying in the patio," Batista said. "We don't know yet the cause of his death, but everything seems to indicate Odalis slipped down a ladder. This is a tragedy."
Perez finished his MLB career with a 73-82 record and a 4.46 ERA in 1,335 innings.