Two RBIs in a 1-0 game?
"He good, no?" says Valerio.
THE BIG STORE
Pascual prowls the mound like a restless hyena. Every pitch is accompanied by a flurry of gestures, grimaces and moans. "He looks like he's pitching at the end of a rubber band," says Joe Torre, who managed Pascual from 1982 to '84 with the Atlanta Braves.
Pascual wears enough gold to buy Trinidad and Tobago and flashes the sly half smile of a kid in a pet store who has just set all the puppies free. But he can also be mercurial—bored one moment, expansive the next. "Anybody know nothing about Pascual," says his old friend Felix Becena. "He's inpredictable."
After nearly being decapitated by a line drive last August at Wrigley Field, Mr. Inpredictability threw a pitch into the Cubs dugout. "I don't do nothing in particular on purpose," he said afterward. Yet two weeks later, while batting against the Dodgers, he purposely ignored three straight bunt signs and struck out swinging. "I was rockin' and rollin'," he explained.
A DAY AT THE RACES
Pascual was tagged Perimeter Perez in 1982 after he got lost just before a game while driving a borrowed car on the interstate that rings Atlanta. "There's a big radio and the merengue music was real loud." he says. "I forgot my wallet, so I have no money and no license. I pass around the city two times easy, but the car so hot I stop at a gas station. I ask for $10 worth, and the guy say, 'You Pascual Perez? People been waiting for you at the stadium." I'm 20 minutes away, he tell me. I feel like a heart attack. I think I get fired, maybe. Boss Torre say he fine me $100. I say, 'What you say, $100?' He smile, say, 'Ciento pesos' I smile. Ciento pesos worth only 10 bucks."
Pascual won four key games down the stretch that year, and the Braves were champions of their division. He was 15-8 in '83. The Atlanta fans loved his head fakes and through-the-legs pickoff moves, but opposing batters were not amused. Recalls Yankee pitcher Dave LaPoint, "Guys wanted to bounce balls off Pascual's knees, if not his skull."
He missed the first month of the '84 campaign after Dominican authorities caught him with cocaine in his possession and jailed him for three months. He returned to the rotation in May and pitched brilliantly until mid-August, when he got into a beanball duel with the Padres' pitchers. After they nearly hit him a few times, he stopped throwing inside and started losing.