One of baseball’s greatest run producers, Perez retired as the 14th-best RBI man in ML history. After sharing Cincinnati’s first-base job in his first two years, Perez was switched to third base from 1967 to 1972 to get slugger Lee May into the lineup.
For ten years (1967-76) Perez was one of the leaders of The Big Red Machine, six times topping 100 RBI. With Perez in the infield, the Reds won four pennants. In 1970, his top season, he hit .317 with 40 homers and 134 RBI. He belted three home runs in the 1975 WS against the Red Sox, two in Game Five, and one in Game Seven when Bill Lee tried to fool him with a soft lob.
He later had several excellent years for Montreal and Boston, and he remained a dangerous pinch hitter for several seasons after his days as a regular ended. He was often compared to first baseman Orlando Cepeda, and Perez’s final homer in 1986 tied him with Cepeda at 379 for the most career homers by a Latin player.
Perez joined the Marlins’ front office after a brief managerial stint with the Reds in 1993. He was tabbed as Florida’s interim skipper when John Boles was fired in May 2001.