Friday, May 22, 2020

#98 Camilo Pascual - Washington Nationals

Camilo Alberto Pascual
Washington Nationals

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'11"  Weight:  170
Born:  January 20, 1934, La Habana, Cuba
Signed:  Signed by the Washington Senators as an amateur free agent before 1952 season
Major League Teams:  Washington Senators 1954-1960; Minnesota Twins 1961-1966; Washington Senators 1967-1969; Cincinnati Reds 1969; Los Angeles Dodgers 1970; Cleveland Indians 1971

If not for Camilo Pascual, the Senators/Twins teams of the late 1950s/early 1960s would have lost a lot more games than they actually did.  Pascual was a mainstay in those teams' pitching rotations, making at least 25 starts in 11 different seasons between 1956 and 1967.  He was named to seven All-Star teams and was a 20-game winner in 1962 and 1963.  Pascual led the A.L. in complete games in 1959, 1962 and 1963 and in shutouts in 1959, 1961 and 1962.  He struck out over 200 in a season four times, leading the league in that category in 1961, 1962 and 1963.  He finished in the top four in ERA in the A.L. in four different seasons.  Pascual holds the record for opening day strikeouts, having fanned 15 Red Sox on opening day in 1960.  Ted Williams (#5) described Pascual's overhand curveball as the "most feared curveball in the American League for 18 years."

The Twins, who had moved from Washington, traded Pascual to the expansion Washington Senators in December 1966, giving him the distinction of having pitched for both versions of the expansion Senators teams.

Over his career, Pascual pitched in 529 games and had a record of 174-170 with a 3.63 ERA.  His 2,167 career strikeouts currently ranks him 68th on the all-time list.  Following his playing career, Pascual served as Gene Mauch's pitching coach for the Twins between 1978 and 1980.  He also worked as a scout for the A's, Mets and Dodgers and he was the scout who recommended the A's sign Jose Canseco.  Pascual was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame in 2012.

July 14, 2012 - Tony Oliva inducts Pascual into the Twins Hall of Fame
Building the Set
Summer of 1983 or 1984 in Millville, NJ - Card #7
This Pascual card was one of the Original 44.  I last told the full story of the Original 44 in the Pedro Ramos (#49) post and by the time I get to the next card from the Original 44 - Ed Mathews (#107) - it might be time for me to repeat the story again.  The Cardinals, Indians and Senators were the teams best represented in that original haul as there were six cards from each of those teams added to our set.

The Card
The same photo was used for this card and Pascual's 1955 Topps rookie card.  On the back, the middle panel does a great job of highlighting the varied repertoire in Pascual's pitching arsenal.  Along with his fantastic curveball, Pascual also threw an effective, and at times unhittable, fastball.

Nationals Team Set

1956 Season
As a 22-year-old in his third full season, Pascual went 6-18 with a 5.87 ERA over 39 games and 27 starts.  He led the A.L. in home runs allowed with 33.  The Senators lost 95 games with Pascual's 18 serving as a career low-point for the pitcher.  Chuck Stobbs (#68) with 15 losses, Bob Wiesler (#327) with 12 losses and Pedro Ramos (#49) with 10 losses trailed Pascual in that category.

Following the season, Pascual helped lead the Cienfuegos Elephants of the Cuban winter league to a championship season by going 15-5 and pitching 16 complete games.

1955 Topps #84
1959 Topps #413
1962 Topps #230
1965 Topps #255
1970 Topps #254
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1955 Topps #84
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (16):  1955-1970
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  1994 Topps Archives 1954 #255

133 - Pascual non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 3/28/20.

Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
The Trading Card Database

In some cases, the first and last cards listed above are subjective and chosen by me if multiple cards were released within the same year.  Most recent mainstream card may also be subjective and does not include extremely low serial numbered cards, buybacks or cut autograph cards.

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