SI Vault
 
He has found the way to go
John Garrity
May 23, 1983
Last year Pascual Perez of Atlanta got lost. This season he hasn't lost
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
May 23, 1983

He Has Found The Way To Go

Last year Pascual Perez of Atlanta got lost. This season he hasn't lost

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2

"No, Joe Torre says I can win 15."

Perez' dependence on the goodwill of strangers is what made his famous ride endearing. One guesses that if Bob Horner, the Braves' brash third baseman, had been late for the same reason, he would have been assessed more than the $100 that Torre fined Perez. "When I get lost, I been in Atlanta for four days," says Perez. "I rent a car and get my driving permit that morning, and I leave for the stadium very early, but I forget where to make a turn right."

Thus handicapped, Perez made an afternoon-long ordeal out of what is normally a 15-minute ride. Circling helplessly, he finally pulled off the freeway at about 7:10 p.m., well north of Atlanta and running on fumes, and using gestures and his minimal English, persuaded a gas-station attendant to pump $10 worth of free gas for him. "I forgot my wallet, too," says Perez. All this has been recounted often in Atlanta, so Perez gets a laugh in his commercial when he says of the Braves caps, "At only two-fifty, they're worth driving around for...and around...and around...and around...." Fortunately, while Perez was making like Charley on the MTA, Niekro was winning the game in his place, making Pascual's second-inning arrival more comical than tragic.

Last week, as if to show that it's no fluke when a Perez loses his way, Pascual's older brother, Mario, flew in from New York City to visit him...and got lost in Atlanta's sprawling airport. Shunning the interconcourse subway—"because they will take me out of town, maybe to another state," he said later—Mario walked around...and around...and around...and around...until he was finally rescued by a Delta Airlines agent, who got him out of the terminal and into a cab to the stadium. "He got lost?" an amazed Pascual asked later. "Oh, man!" Mario, of course, was immediately christened Airport Perez.

Yes, Mario. Pascual suggests that you get a map, too.

1 2