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Friday, November 11, 2011

Christensen: Time has come to put Camilo Pascual in the Twins Hall of fame

With Patrick Reusse’s urging, I’ve been voting for Pascual, but I must admit that I knew little about the Cuban righthander’s career this summer, when we were putting together stories for Bert Blyleven’s Hall of Fame induction. I started interviewing folks about Blyleven’s legendary curve ball, and the ones who remembered, were quick to mention his predecessor.

“The best curve ball in history, and a guy who gets overlooked, is Camilo Pascual,” White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone said.

Hawk Harrelson heard us talking and launched into a story:

“We had a rainy day at the old Met, and Camilo did something I’d never seen somebody do: He struck out three guys all sitting on their butt. Rocky Colavito was hitting third, I was hitting fourth, and Jim Gentile was hitting fifth. The ground was wet, and we got out there so far—wham! Right down on our butt.”

“and Camilo did something I’d never seen somebody do”...and you still haven’t, because it nevah happened™. (™: Tracer Meth-a-done)

Repoz Posted: November 11, 2011 at 10:59 AM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, royals, twins

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: November 11, 2011 at 03:18 PM (#3991123)
To me, he'll always be more of a Twins HoVGer, but I've always been a small Twins hall kind of guy.
   2. Morty Causa Posted: November 11, 2011 at 03:33 PM (#3991133)
Hey, Mac, you wanna buy a hot buick?
   3. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 11, 2011 at 03:59 PM (#3991150)
I don't remember CP, but was his curve really better than BB?
   4. Wins Above Paul Westerberg Posted: November 11, 2011 at 04:09 PM (#3991156)
I don't remember CP, but was his curve really better than BB?

I'm too young for the era, but it's a line I've seen and read repeated many times. Don Zimmer, of all people, has said that Pascual had the greatest curve ball he'd ever seen.

However, even if those claims are a bit hyperbolic, he belongs in the Twins Hall of Fame. They recently put Aguilera and Gagne in; it's probably time to remember the Twins existed before '87.
   5. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 11, 2011 at 04:20 PM (#3991167)
I'm too young for the era, but it's a line I've seen and read repeated many times. Don Zimmer, of all people, has said that Pascual had the greatest curve ball he'd ever seen.

it was quite a pitch--a pure 12 to 6 curveball. When the centerfield cameras first became used in the early-mid 60s, his ball looked like it fell off a table when it reached the plate
   6. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 11, 2011 at 04:41 PM (#3991185)
FWIW when Pascual was a Senator, he taught a high school teammate of mine that curve ball, and even though my teammate couldn't have broken a window with his fast ball, he parlayed his curve ball into an extra inning complete game shutout in the city championship game.

Of course a week later we played the same team in an American Legion "rematch" game, and this time they knew what to look for, and scored 8 runs in the first 9 batters. I can still see balls flying over my head in that Washington Ellipse high sky.

But yeah, that Pascual curve was about the purest 12-to-6 drop you could ever see. His career went downhill in his early 30's, probably due to an injury brought about by overuse, but from about 1958 through 1963 he was among the very best pitchers in the AL.
   7. salvomania Posted: November 11, 2011 at 04:55 PM (#3991193)
Hey, Mac, you wanna buy a hot buick?


I remember that line, and I got the book as a kid when it came out.
   8. DL from MN Posted: November 11, 2011 at 05:35 PM (#3991220)
If they're going to keep ignoring Knoblauch then Pascual is the best choice at the moment. Part of why he isn't remembered as well is his peak is split between Washington and Minnesota.
   9. Bob Tufts Posted: November 11, 2011 at 05:41 PM (#3991227)
Since it is Harrelson, I did a quick check. I believe that Gentile, Colavtio and Harrelson only played together on the 1964 Kansas City Royals.

The only game that I found with these three playing against Pascual at the Met was July 21, 1964. The batting order was Colavito 3rd, Gentile 4th and Hawk 5th. Rocky went 3-5 with no K's, Gentile went 2-4 with 2 K's and Hawk went 1-3 with no K's in a 5-4 A's win over Camilo.

Other than these differences, it's a great story, Ken!
   10. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: November 11, 2011 at 06:38 PM (#3991256)
Other than these differences, it's a great story, Ken!


He did say it was raining. I'm over 9000% sure it's BS, and I don't like to defend Hawk, but it's possible the game was stopped before it became official.
   11. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: November 11, 2011 at 07:10 PM (#3991272)
Maybe the game was rained out, and the stats rained out with it?

EDIT.....How did I miss 10? Darn.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: November 11, 2011 at 07:28 PM (#3991289)
Yeah but ...

A perusal of the 1964 game logs suggests Pascual didn't miss any starts;
a perusal of the schedule suggests the Twins didn't get any rain outs vs. the As (no obvious gaps in an As series);
Pascual started in an official game in every As series which is unlikely if he'd started a rained out game earlier in the series.

It's not impossible. And of course it might have been Gentile, Hawk and somebody else or some other close variant.
   13. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 11, 2011 at 07:43 PM (#3991298)
It's not impossible. And of course it might have been Gentile, Hawk and somebody else or some other close variant.

the 1964 game logs show that Pasqual started 6 games against the A's that year and didn't strike out the side in any inning, or get 3 consecutive K's at any time. But still, good story, Hawk...
   14. Rob_Wood Posted: November 11, 2011 at 08:39 PM (#3991360)
A good story could be written on how Harrelson, Gentile, and Colavito all wound up on the 1964 Kansas City A's.
   15. Styles P. Deadball Posted: November 11, 2011 at 09:21 PM (#3991395)
Interesting that he flamed out early, because my only Pascual memory comes from an Old Timer's All Star game in the early 80's. Luke Appling was in his 80's and hit a homer, Warren Spahn still had the famous delivery but just floated the ball up there as did the other pitchers. Pascual came in late and looked like a little leaguer who is lying about his age. He just absolutely blew away all of these old men, who, up until that moment, were having a lark.

He was throwing so hard (comparatively) that my dad was convinced he still threw in winter ball.
   16. DL from MN Posted: November 11, 2011 at 09:48 PM (#3991422)
On July 20th, 1964, the closest available weather station to Minneapolis, MN (MINNEAPOLIS-ST PAUL INT'L ARP, MN), reported the following conditions:

High Temp: 93F
Low Temp: 70F
Average Temp: 80F
Dewpoint: 68F
Wind Speed: 8.3 Knots
Precipitation Amount: 0.31 Inches
Snow Depth: n/a
Observations: Rain/Drizzle, Thunder

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