R.I.P Pascual Perez

Nov 1, 2012 by

 

I started watching baseball when I was 10 years old.  My dad died when I was 7 and my mom, wanting to make sure I had some male bonding, enrolled me in every sport she could think of.  After a few mismatches, we found baseball.  The same year I started playing for the Twins, we started going to the Richmond Braves games, the AAA team of the Atlanta Braves.   It didn’t take long for us to discover the parent team played every night on TBS; an obsession was born.

Those are some of the best memories of my childhood.  Watching the games with my mom, eating funnel cake and nachos, talking to older fans about past seasons, getting Bob Feller to sign a ball, meeting players and getting some used bats, riding out horrific thunder storms under the rickety overhangs of Parker Field, catching a foul ball and even winning a stereo during a fan appreciate night and going out onto the field to accept my prize in the 7th inning.

It was 1982, the Braves came out of nowhere to win their division (only to lose to the Cards), Dale Murphy won the first of 2 MVPs and I got to watch my all-time favorite player, Pascual Perez.  He came over in a mid-season trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  I’d never seen anything like him.  His Jheri curls flew behind him as he sprinted off the field, he talked to the ball, threw an eephus pitch, shot opposing players when he struck them out, peeked between his legs at runners on first base and pitched like a man on fire.  He appeared in 5 games for the Richmond Braves, completing 4 of them and pitching 2 shutouts before making the big club, never to return.  His autograph is one of my most cherished possessions.

His career was one of infamy.  He was involved in an epic bean ball battle with the San Diego Padres, he got lost in the 285 loop on the way to his first start, he got busted twice for Cocaine, he missed flights, he pissed off opposing players, and he was generally unpredictable.  I loved him for every minute of it.

It was clear Perez enjoyed the game.  He smiled constantly, he had fun with his team mates, and he seemed to understand that he was a pretty lucky guy to be doing what he was doing.  I was sad when he was released after going 1 – 13 with an era over 6 (I didn’t care, I wanted to watch him play for MY team), he went on to have a decent few years before getting busted for coke again and choosing to never return.

In 2010 it was rumored that the hard to find Perez had died, but his brother Melido refuted that, saying he was alive and well.  I’ve done my best to track him down with no luck, but today it looks like he’s been found – dead in his bedroom, the victim of a stabbing during a home invasion.

I’ll miss you Pasqual.  I guess it’s time to bring the detective home.

 

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5 Comments

  1. KGS

    Nice tribute Alan.

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