CLEVELAND — Salvador Perez made history in Cleveland Monday afternoon becoming the first catcher to hit 46 home runs in a season. Perez broke the record set by Johnny Bench in 1970.
Perez hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning of a 7-2 win setting a new record for the highest total by a player who spent at least 75% of his team’s games at catcher.
Perez also moved into a tie for the major league lead in homers with Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Perez leads the majors with 115 RBIs.
“I had never hit 30 in my career,” he said. “So I was looking for 30 homers and 100 RBIs. This is a dream come true.”
Perez’s career high in home runs was 27, which came in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Being in the same company with Bench is something else special for the 31-year-old Perez who has been a mainstay for the Royals since reaching the majors in 2011 .
“When you see a Hall of Fame catcher, you try to be just like him,” Perez said. “I’m going to try my best to be one of those guys.”
The actual ball that Salvy hit to set the new record is the only thing missing from Monday’s celebration.
In a postgame interview, Perez said the fan who ended up with the ball declined to hand it over to Cleveland’s staff.
The Royals said it won’t benefit the fan to keep the ball. The team said that once the fan walked out of Progressive Field, it became just another baseball. Major League Baseball goes through a process to authenticate each piece of game memorabilia. The Royals said the baseball did not go through that process because the fan decided to keep it.
The Royals said Salvy has his jersey, bat, gloves, spikes, and other personal equipment that he used in the game authenticated, proving it was the gear he wore in the game when he set the new record.
The Royals have two more games in Cleveland before heading to Detroit for a weekend series against the Tigers. The team returns to Kansas City to host Cleveland next week. The Royals will end the season at home against the Minnesota Twins.