Carlos Gross Perez
born Carlos Gross Perez
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 3", Weight 195 lb.
- Debut April 27, 1995
- Final Game September 5, 2000
- Born April 14, 1971 in San Gregorio de Nigua, San Cristobal, D.R.
After a checkered minor league career marked by arm injuries, suspensions, and some spectacular runs of success, he came up to the major leagues with the Montreal Expos taking advantage of expanded rosters for the first few weeks of the 1995 season and proceded to pitch extremely well, posting a 7-2 record with a 3.26 ERA in the first half. His manager, Felipe Alou, picked him as the Expos' sole representative in the 1995 All-Star Game, where he pitched a third of an inning. He slowed down over the second half, winning only three more games as the Expos fell apart, and ended the year 10-8, 3.69. His season ended on a very bad note as on September 23, he was arrested in Atlanta, GA and charged with rape and sodomy. He was freed on a $50,000 bail after spending two days in jail, but did not play again. He managed to get his legal problems sorted out in the off-season. His record was good enough however to have him named to the 1995 Topps All-Star Rookie Team.
Perez was set to pitch in the Expos' starting rotation in 1996 but in his last start of spring training on March 30, he felt stiffness in his shoulder, then was placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 4, the day he was supposed to make his first start, with what was initially diagnosed as tendinitis. As the pain persisted, he went under the knife in early May to repair a partial tear in his shoulder joint. He missed the entire season as a result, a significant loss for the Expos who missed the National League Wild Card spot by only two games.
Perez pitched briefly in the winter leagues in the 1996-97 off-season, then made the Expos' rotation in spring training in 1997. He turned in a solid season, going 12-13 with 8 complete games and a league-leading 5 shutouts, and a 3.88 ERA. In 1998, he started the year 7-10, but with a solid 3.75 ERA. On July 31, with the Expos going nowhere and having lost all of their stars from the strike-shortened 1994 season, Perez and Mark Grudzielanek, two of their better young veterans, were sent in a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers for four youngsters, among whom only Wilton Guerrero had played in the majors. Perez pitched well for Los Angeles, going 4-4 with two shutouts in 11 starts. He was awful in 1999 however, going 2-10 with a terrible 7.43 ERA in 16 starts, and spending some time at AAA Albuquerque to try to right himself. To top things off, he was placed on the disabled list on September 7, ending his season.
Carlos Perez turned in one more season in the major leagues in 2000, but it was another huge disappointment, as he went 5-8, 5.56 in 30 games. He was earning big money by then, making him an easy target for fans' anger, especially since he had always had a wild personality, prone to fits of anger and of seeming complacency on the mound. For example, when at bat, he would almost always swing for the fences, resulting in a few spectacular home runs (he hit four over his major league career) and a smattering of extra-base hits, but also a ton of strikeouts. His antics were considered funny and refreshing when he was winning, but grated on his managers when he was no longer getting batters out. There were questions about whether his arm was seriously injured or not, or whether he was malingering and just uninterested anymore. He pitched a few games for the Las Vegas 51s in 2001, going 2-1, 6.53, but has been out of organized baseball since that time. He has continued to pitch in the winter leagues, with some degree of success. With pitching at a premium in the majors and all sorts of retreads getting chances to show they have something left in their arms, Perez could have been expected to land another job at some point, but he has seemingly burned too many bridges over the years.
- 1995 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
- NL All-Star (1995)
- NL Shutouts Leader (1997)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1997 & 1998)
- Danny Gallagher: "Perez brothers loose cannons", in Remembering the Montreal Expos, Scoop Press, Toronto, ON, 2005, pp. 126-127.