Whenever White Sox fans hear the name Timo Pérez, they can't help but think of one thing.
Come on, Timo! Come on, Timo!
Thanks to one of Hawk Harrelson's popular calls, we remember that guy. Let's remember a little more.
Timoniel Pérez was born April 8, 1975 in Bani, Dominican Republic. As a teenager, he was recruited by the Japanese Central League's Hiroshima Carp, who have an academy in San Pedro de Macoris in the DR. After arriving in Japan at age 18 and spending 1994 to 1999 in the organization, he was scouted by the Mets (including Omar Minaya) and signed on March 17, 2000 for around $85,000. It was a similar route to the Majors – from the Dominican Republic to Japan to New York – that Alfonso Soriano took (although, he signed with the Yankees instead of the Mets).
Pérez started out in high-A St. Lucie where he played eight games before moving up to triple-A Norfolk. He set the International League on fire, hitting .357/.392/.512 with six home runs in 72 games before the Mets came calling. Timo made his MLB debut on Sept. 1, 2000, collecting a single off of Cardinals pitcher Dave Veres while pinch hitting for reliever Turk Wendell. Perhaps pinch hitting for arguably the most superstitious player in history was some kind of good luck charm.
Timo's first career home run was Sept. 24, 2000 off of White Sox nemesis (playing for the Phillies at this time) Bruce Chen, and it was inside-the-park. He's one of four Mets whose first home run was inside-the-park, along with Edgardo Alfonzo, Don Hahn & Bud Harrelson. Pérez was a spark plug for the Mets in the playoffs, collecting a hit-and-run in all five games of the NLCS against the Cardinals. His 8 RBIs tied a single season LCS record (since broken), and he's the only player in Mets history to get a hit-and-run in every game of a postseason series of at least five games. He struggled (2 for 16) in the Subway World Series against the Yankees, but how many players get a chance to play in the Series as a rookie anyway? Overall, he had as many hits in the postseason (14 in 14 games) as he did in the regular season (14 hits in 24 games). Quite a first season in the bigs.
Pérez started 2001 with the Mets and spent most of the season there, except for an April groin injury and a July-August stint at Norfolk, where he was red hot once again (.359 BA). His season highlight was his first career major league four-hit game on June 12 in Baltimore. He finished his season with the Mets hitting .247/.287/.356 with five home runs and 22 RBI in 85 games. 2002 was a career year, hitting .295/.331/.437 with eight homers, 47 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 136 games – career highs for each counting number. On June 11, he had his second four-hit game, this time in a 10-8 Mets loss against the White Sox in Chicago! Also notable was Aug. 8, 2002 when he became the first player ever (and the only player until 2015) to triple twice at Milwaukee's Miller Park.
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Pérez tailed off in 2003, hitting .269/.301/.364 with four home runs in 127 games. The Mets dealt him to the White Sox on March 27, 2004 in exchange for pitcher Matt Ginter. Pérez continued his work as a fourth outfielder, making starts at all three spots while hitting .246/.285/.338 with five home runs in 103 games. He tied a career-high (Game 4 of the 2000 NLCS) with three runs in the wild 17-14 loss at Olympic Stadium in Montreal on June 19, otherwise known to many White Sox fans as the Arnie Muñoz game. On Aug. 8, Pérez started a two-out rally with a single in the ninth inning of a 2-2 tie and came around to score the winning run on a Ben Davis single. This play has been forever immortalized by Hawk Harrelson's call:
In 2005, Pérez's playing time decreased. He only played in 76 games and hit .218, but was able to enjoy being a part of the wire-to-wire division run by the White Sox. He made two postseason appearances – in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Red Sox and in the epic 14-inning Game 3 of the World Series in Houston. He was a combined 0 for 2 in a pair of pinch hitting opportunities. Timo hit free agency after the season and signed with the Reds, but was brought in by the Cardinals before he was played a game. Pérez played 23 games for the Cardinals, including each game of a three-game set in Chicago against the White Sox (a White Sox sweep by scores of 20-6, 13-5 and 1-0). Although he didn't make the postseason roster, Timo played for two straight World Series-winning teams as the Cardinals went on to win the Fall Classic. He moved on to Detroit in 2007, where played what would be his final MLB games. He hung around the minors in the Dodgers, Phillies and Tigers systems for several more years while also playing independent ball, the Dominican Winter League and the Mexican League.
For his career, Timo Pérez appeared in 603 MLB games and posted a .269/.308/.382 slash line with 26 home runs. Those 26 dingers were off of 25 different pitchers. The one pitcher he got to twice? Greg Maddux, against whom Pérez hit 9 for 22 (.409).
Come on, Timo! You remember that guy.