Pascual Perez 1957-2012

Sad and shocking news today that Pascual Perez was killed during a home invasion robbery in his native Dominican Republic. Here is  a brief tribute to one of the most entertaining players of his (or any other) time.

Perez came up in the Pirates’ organization, getting off to an impressive start in 1981, going 2-0 with 1.38 ERA in his first 3 starts. But, it was all downhill from there, going 0-7, 5.07 the rest of the way. Starting 1982 in the minors, the Pirates dealt Perez to Atlanta in mid-year, where he posted a fine half-season of 123 ERA+ and only 1.9 BB/9. That showing earned Perez a rotation spot in a fine 1983 season that garnered him an All-Star selection in his first year as a full-time regular.

In 1984, his performance started to slide, down to 103 ERA+, although he finished the season on the upside with a 3.00 ERA in August and September. The wheels came off in a dreadful 1985 season of 1-13, 6.14, and the Braves released Perez in the spring of 1986.

Perez was out of baseball entirely in 1986 and then signed on with the Expos for the 1987 season. Perez was a late-August call-up that year and made the most of the opportunity, going 7-0, 2.30 in 10 starts. As a regular the next season, Perez was almost unhittable with a league-leading 0.944 WHIP and 147 ERA+. That slid to 107 ERA+ in 1989, despite leading the NL is SO/BB ratio.

Perez was a free agent after the 1989 season and was picked up by the Yankees. He had a great start to the 1990 season (1.29 ERA, 0.786 WHIP) before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in his 3rd start. He came back strong in 1991 but was again derailed by injury in his 4th start, when sporting a 1.53 ERA. Perez came back in August that year, going 5-5, 3.70 the rest of the way. That 1991 season would be the last for Perez, as he was suspended for the entire 1992 season for violating MLB’s drug policy.

Perez was known for his eephus pitch, a high-arcing change-up, and for his contortionist-like move of checking runners (and throwing to bases) while peering through his legs. He will also be forever remembered for missing a home start early in his time in Atlanta because he got lost on the I-285 loop highway, doing several full circuits before finally finding his exit to Atlanta Stadium.

Rest in peace, Pascual.


17 thoughts on “Pascual Perez 1957-2012

  1. 1
    Rogers Hoensby says:

    Perimeter Perez, RIP

  2. 2
    bstar says:

    Such a dynamic and fun player to root for. I remember him dropping bunts for base hits down the third base line. His speed was so good he only grounded into 2 of 77 possible double plays. RIP I-285 Pascual.

  3. 3
    brp says:

    Surprised to hear no mention of Melido or Carlos in anything I’ve read about Pascual’s death. Obviously it’s supposed to be about Pascual but they were a rather successful pitching family. Not the Niekros to be sure, but impressive nonetheless.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    John Autin says:

    Sad news indeed. Pascual Perez was the 4th Dominican pitcher to make an All-Star team, appearing in the 1983 contest that was started by his countryman, Mario Soto. (That’s the game best known for Fred Lynn’s slam off Atlee Hammaker, helping end the NL’s latest win streak at 11 games.)

    I remember Pascual as part of the ’87 Expos (mostly) reclamation rotation, including the resurrection of Dennis Martinez and Neal Heaton bouncing back to a respectable 13-10 after leading the majors with 47 losses in the prior 3 years. Pascual’s 7-0 record (7 straight September starts won) was then the most wins by an undefeated Expo, matched that same year by closer Tim Burke. (Burke’s 1.19 ERA in ’87 remains the 2nd-best in the live-ball era with 80+ IP.)

    The ’88 Expos, with outstanding full seasons by Perez and Martinez, had a strong and deep rotation: Though only Martinez reached 200 IP, six guys made at least 13 starts and all posted ERA+ at least 112. They’re one of seven teams ever with 6 guys at 12+ starts and 110+ ERA+ — and the only such team since WWII. Alas, the offense didn’t keep pace, and the club finished at .500.

    Brothers Melido and Carlos also pitched several years in the majors. I still remember Melido’s 1992 season because of my fantasy team: 2.87 ERA, 218 strikeouts, but a 13-16 record. He’s the only Yankee ever with 200+ Ks and a losing record — not coincidentally, that was the last sub-.500 Yankee squad — and one of nine in the live-ball era to do that with a sub-3 ERA.

    Carlos Perez debuted with the ’95 Expos and was an All-Star that same year, making a brief appearance in the game. He lost the next season to injury, and though he came back with two solid years, his career went downhill fast and he was done before turning 30.

    Are there any other brother trios who all logged 500+ innings?

    My condolences to the family and friends of Pascual Perez.

    • 7
      Doug says:

      Excellent research, John. Thanks.

      The only other trio of brother pitchers that I have found are the Clarksons, John, Dad and Walter. The eldest brother John, of course, is the HOFer with 4500+ IP. The middle brother Dad had 704 IP, and the youngest Walter (17 years younger than John) had 374 IP as an early example of a swingman – 37 starts in 78 career games.

      • 8
        Richard Chester says:

        The SABR Baseball List and Record Book has a list of all sets of 3 or more brothers who played in the ML and the Perezes and the Clarksons are the only sets with 3 brothers. Hopefully that list is error-free.

    • 12
      Hartvig says:

      It seems like a lifetime ago since I last heard anything of the Perez brothers yet according to B-R Carlos is only 41 years old. They were an entertaining bunch at times to be sure, particularly Pascual and Melido. Sorry to hear of Pascual’s passing.

      And how is it possible that I have lived my life to this point without ever hearing of “Dad” Clarkson?

      I have to see if there’s any room for him on my AllTime Name team somewhere.

      Hey, maybe that’s an idea for an article sometime: AllTime Best Nickname team vs AllTime Best Given Name team. It’s time that guys like Bob “Death to Flying Things” Ferguson and Eugene Hamlet “Rubber Arm” Krapp got a little recognition around here.

  6. 6
    deal says:

    From the times have changed dept – Pascual Perez had more career CGs (21) then several current stars including Roy Oswalt, Verlander, Johan Santana, Jake Peavy, Greinke, Hamels, Josh Beckett.

    Would rank 14th if he were active today.

  7. 11
    Jimbo says:

    When I was little I used to think his name was “Fastball Perez.”

    RIP Fastball.

    • 13
      Hartvig says:

      Great anecdote.

      Reminds me of what became my favorite player for the Quad City River Bandits a few years ago, Domnit Bolivar. At 19 he was already a fairly well travelled minor league utility infielder. Since I don’t know how to get my computer to show a schwa his first name was pronounced Dom as in Dominic and neat as in tidy. First game I attended that year my friend and I are talking as he comes up to bat for the first time and I swear I heard his name as Dogmeat Bolivar. Needless to say he was my favorite player for the next 2 seasons.

      Towards the end of the season I won his jersey in a charity auction at a game that I had him autograph that now proudly hangs framed on the wall in my basement.

  8. 14
    Luis Gomez says:

    Sometime last year, Pascual´s name appearead on a chart on this site (I don´t remember what was the chart about) and I remember being asked about him. What a sad sad story that is. I couldn´t believe when I heard in the news how he died. I still can´t.

    Que en paz descanse.

  9. 15
    oneblankspace says:

    One of the AP stories I read mentioned that Melido was mayor of the town in the Dominican where this all happened. I checked the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website because I remember him more as a Brave; there were two mentions of him as a Yankee pitcher before the first mention of him with Atlanta. There was a B&W picture of him with Atlanta but next to no mention of those days in the story.

  10. 17

    Howdy this is kinda of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so
    I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience.

    Any help would be enormously appreciated!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *