Pascual Perez

No matter what his win-loss record, Perez was always in the spotlight for his antics, intensity, fines, suspensions, and incarcerations. His showmanship pleased fans but could annoy opponents: shooting batters with an imaginary finger-gun, pounding the ball into the ground, and running full speed to the dugout (gold chains and long, curly locks bouncing) after an inning-ending strikeout. He eventually added the “Pascual pitch” (his version of the “eephus”) to his repertoire. And he was involved in more than one beanball incident.

The animated, rail-thin Dominican hot dog became a legend in Atlanta on August 19, 1982, the day he was to make his first start for the Braves. He had just passed his driver’s test and got lost on his way to the stadium. He circled Atlanta three times on I-285, ran out of gas, and arrived 10 minutes after game time.

Perez went 15-8 in 1983 but faced drug charges in the Dominican Republic that winter and found himself in jail. By May he was allowed to rejoin the Braves, and he went 14-8. Disabled three times in 1985 with shoulder pain, he went AWOL on the way to Montreal after a July 21 loss in New York and was suspended until August 5. He finished the year 1-13 and was released the following April.

Though he was out of organized ball in 1986, the Expos signed Perez to a minor league contract for 1987. Visa problems kept him from reporting until May. He joined the Expos in August and went 7-0. One of his 12 wins in 1988 was a five-inning, rain-shortened 1-0 no-hitter in Philadelphia on September 24. He also pinch ran 14 times that year. He started slowly in 1989, but by mid-season was back to his 1988 form.

Pascual’s brothers Melido, Dario, and Valerio, were all signed as pitchers by Kansas City. Melido pitched for the White Sox in 1989.