LEFT BEHIND No. 7: Pascual “Perimeter” Perez

Bledsoe:

pascual perez.jpgRighthanded Starting Pitcher
Braves Seasons: 1982-85
Braves Career Stats: 34-33, 601.6 IP, 3.91 ERA

At No. 6, the Left Behinders select Otis Nixon. See Sam’s fine writeup, below. Otis was absolutely a key cog in those early years of the Dynastic Years. I honestly don’t think they get to the WS without him in those years. Clearly on the bubble for the 44: I think Mac took too much notice of the fact that he was only good for the Braves, and basically was subpar everywhere else. But he was definitely good for the Braves.

At No. 7, Pascual Perez — a bean-thin, flamboyant starter at the top of the Braves rotation during Joe Torre’s managerial era, which featured some pretty good teams. His Braves career winning percentage is definitely hampered by his last year, in which he went 1-12. I presume that was the cocaine talking.

But before that, he was basically the Braves No. 1. In 1983 he made the All-Star Team, finishing 15-8 and 3.43. In 1984, he went 14-8 and 3.74. He threw over 210 innings both years. Great stuff, too.

When he was good, he was very, very good, and when he was bad, he was horrid. Throw out his last year with the Braves, and he’s got a Braves record of 33-20 with an ERA below 3.50.

Perez started the worst beanball war I have ever seen when he drilled Alan Wiggins in the ribs with the first pitch at AFCS. The Padres threw at him three times and just kept missing him. By the third at-bat, Perez was leaving the batter’s box during the windup. There were three complete bench-clearing incidents, one of which lasted more than ten minutes, with Joe Torre at the bottom of the scrum. This wasn’t a bunch of guys pairing up and dancing; this was an absolute donnybrook. Ty Cobb would have been proud. Champ Summers and a couple of other Padres got into a fight with fans. A pleasant afternoon.

Can he make the 44? Not really, but he’s on the taxi squad, particularly if I get to DL him in 1985 for cocaine addiction.

Come to think of it: maybe Mac is prejudiced against drug users.

Message from Mac: Well, I did include Lonnie Smith — but yeah, I am. Perez’s career with the Braves was too short for inclusion. He was a full-time pitcher, and a good one, in 1983 and 1984. His 1982 was a half-season. And his 1985 was so bad that it drags down his entire Braves career to below-average. But like Brian Jordan, without that season his career isn’t long enough to merit attention.

I don’t know the “Perimeter” nickname. The one I heard was “I-285.” I wish I could find a picture of the jacket.

Pascual Perez Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

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15 thoughts on “LEFT BEHIND No. 7: Pascual “Perimeter” Perez”

  1. Nice use of the word “donnybrook” in a sentence. Meself being 1/16 Irish and all, I’m fully behind usage of violent words derived from Gaelic languages.

    Fer yer pleasure, the lyrics to “It’s the same old shillelagh”:

    Sure it’s the same old shillelagh
    Me father brought from Ireland.
    And divil a man prouder than He,
    As he walked with it in his hand.
    He’d lead the band on Paddy’s Day
    And twirle it round his mitt
    And divil a bit we’d laught at it
    Or Dad would have a fit
    Sure with the same old shillelagh
    Me father could lick a dozen men
    As fast as they’d get up be gorry,
    He’d knock’em down again
    And many’s the time he used it on me
    To make me understand
    The same old shillelagh
    Me father brought from Ireland.

  2. Yes, those ’82-’83 teams were pretty good, but overall the pitching was kinda thin—a lotta Bob Walks, Rick Mahlers and over-the-hill Al Hraboskys. That’s why Perez was so valuable. I always felt like we had a chance with him.

    Re: Dukefest with the Padres:
    When Champ Summers came after Perez, Bob Horner (broken wrist in a cast) stood up for him & got in Summers’ way. I liked Horner a lot, but he won me over forever for that move. A real teammate.

    Still, that “donnybrook” game was the closest thing I’ve ever seen on a ballfield to professional wrestling. NWA announcer Gordon Solie might’ve called it a “Pier-6 brawl.”

  3. Actually, Horner was in the broadcast booth to start the game. Sometime in the third inning, he went down and suited up because he knew it was going to get ugly.

    In Donnybrook No. whatever, all the Braves were on the field in the middle of Fist City except Perez, who was hiding in the dugout. Champ Summers tried a flanking movement and ran around the scrum to get Perez. Except he ran smack into Bob Horner, and suddenly seemed to get a lot calmer for some reason.

  4. Again for the youngsters, Pascual Perez was a new call up who barely spoke English and was due to make probably his first home start at Fulton County. He drove himself and ended up circling I-285, the Perimeter, one and a half times (and that is like 96 miles) before realizing something was wrong. He was so late getting to the game that somebody else had to start on short notice (I don’t remember who). That pitcher had been off kilter, but pitched his best game in weeks. It jump started a winning streak which put the Braves (who hadn’t contended since 1969) in contention. The town fell in love with him over that.

    He had extraordinary stuff. Fun to watch. Very animated on the mound. Without the cocaine, he could have been a “poor man’s” Pedro Martinez. Certainly, one of the most MEMORABLE Braves of the Atlanta era. One of the 44 best, I don’t think so because of such a short period of impact. However, the 1983 division pennant ABSOLUTELY doesn’t happen without him.

    Great work Bledsoe

  5. For anyone who wants information on Kei Igawa (the Japanese pitcher the Braves are rumored to be after), I’ve devoted the first entry of my new blog to a brief overview of Igawa, his stats, his stuff, and his MLB prospects. Check it out!

  6. I remember reading once that the voodoo stuff with Pedro Cerrano’s character in “Major Leage” was patterned after Pascual Perez. No idea if that’s true or not.

  7. Thanks guys, Perez was one of a kind, and thus my moniker “pascualperezfan” he literally brought the team back into the race 82 . The focus got of the horible losing streak and onto this enigma
    When Cox came aboard he had something against “enhanced RHP” and thus he had to take a bit of a break from ball sort of speak, Perez came back strong with the Expos, then another , we will call break again. Then off to NY, then he had another break and that was it. man he was wackey, the infamous lob ball as an expo and wild Fro
    A+
    he is number one on this kids list

  8. Hey Mac,

    I-285 is the perimeter around Atlanta. As a nickname – it rolls off the tongue better too.

    My only question is, was he doing the coke off of the dashboard while driving around the city? It really wouldn’t surprise me.

  9. I doubt he was on the drugs then. Only after he started winning some big league games and becoming a “star” would he get hooked on coke.

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