‘Unbelievable’: Salvador Perez joins exclusive club with 250th career home run

Salvador Perez is forever ingrained in Kansas City Royals history. The Royals captain has been around through highs and lows of the organization.

Perez was the 2015 World Series MVP. Last season, he was the leading voice during one of the worst seasons in Royals history.

On Saturday, Perez added to his illustrious Royals career. He became the 12th primary catcher to hit 250 career home runs. The exclusive list includes Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Yogi Berra, Garry Carter and Mike Piazza.

Carter and Piazza made their mark with the New York Mets. Piazza holds the all-time record with 427 home runs by a catcher.

Perez just happened to reach the milestone in the same place, Queens, New York, where both those players called home (as part of their careers) and where Perez held the World Series trophy in 2015.

“It’s super exciting, especially for the win,” Perez said. “As a player we still have some personal goals. Thank God for keeping me in the field and letting me do what I love to do. Hopefully many more.”

In the fourth inning, Perez hit the two-run homer off Mets pitcher Sean Manaea. He drilled a 90.6 mph fastball towards left-center field. The ball bounced off Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo’s glove and landed atop the outfield wall.

Perez was granted an RBI-double initially. However, there was a crew chief review by home-plate umpire David Rackley.

Official review determined Perez’s fly ball was indeed a home run. He circled the bases as the Royals cruised to a 11-7 victory.

“I hit it pretty hard,” Perez said. “The wind was kind of crazy today.”

The Royals had 12 other hits in the game. They improved to 10-5 this season and will look to win their third consecutive series on Sunday.

Perez, who also became the sixth Venezuelan-born MLB player to hit at least 250 homers, celebrated with his teammates. Each shared how special it is to play alongside him.

“Unbelievable,” Royals star Bobby Witt Jr. said. “He does what Salvy does. … He is a role model for me and I hope one day, I can grow up and be like Salvy.”

Several Royals talked about Perez’s preparation. He is often the first guy in the clubhouse and the last one to leave. Perez is also a constant voice for the younger players. His encouragement has helped multiple Royals adjust to the big-league game.

“I’ve been very fortunate to see him do what he does,” Royals utilityman Nick Loftin said. “I’m very blessed to be able to watch him make history there. I’m happy for him and his family. But yeah, he is a hard worker, so it’s no surprise to me.”

Royals starter Alec Marsh agreed. He was thankful to be a part of the historic moment at Citi Field.

“I think he is a Hall of Famer,” Marsh said. “He is amazing, not just in the aspects in the game, but the kind of support you get from him in the clubhouse during the game. The insight he has on hitters. Just a real true pro.”

The Royals have utilized Perez at multiple spots this season. He has caught games, played first base and been a designated hitter. At each spot, he does it with a smile on his face and with a desire to win.

The Royals are off to their best start in recent memory. Perez has been there through it all and now will attempt to help lead the current group back to the playoffs.

He wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We have a lot of hunger to win,” Perez said. “We are going to do our best every night, every game, play hard and see what happens.”