Pascual was born in Cuba on January 20, 1934. Before the 1952 season, he signed with the Washington Senators as an amateur free agent, and he made his debut with the big league club on April 15, 1954.
Now, as many longtime fans know, the Senators were not exactly a powerhouse in the American League. Between 1946 and 1960, the franchise’s last year in Washington before their move to Minnesota to become the Twins, the Senators finished above .500 just once: in 1952, when they went 78-76.
That being said, they were known for bringing in a lot of Cuban players, largely through the efforts of scout Papa Joe Cambria. In fact, between 1935 and 1958, 33 Cuban players made their major league debut with the Senators. Though many of them did not have long major league careers, two pitchers, Pascual and Pedro Ramos, would establish themselves as critical players for the Senators in the late 1950s.
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It took a few years for Pascual, who was known for having a devastating curveball, to really establish himself at the major league level. He would break through in 1959, when he was named an All-Star for the first time while leading the American League in complete games, shutouts, and FIP. It would be the first of seven All-Star appearances.
Once the franchise moved to Minnesota, Pascual continued his solid work, leading the league in strikeouts three times (1961-1963), complete games twice (1962 & 1963), and shutouts twice (1961 & 1962). In fact, Pascual was an All-Star five out of six years from 1959 to 1964 and even placed in MVP voting three times.
After the 1966 season, the Twins traded Pascual to the new Washington Senators (who would later become the Texas Rangers) with Bernie Allen for Ron Kline. He had two solid years with the new Senators before bouncing around to a few other clubs, last appearing in the majors in 1971.
Pascual finished his career with a WAR of 40.9 and took his rightful place in the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame in 2012. Pascual was one of the best pitchers in the game during the late 1950s and early 1960s, though his name doesn’t come up as often as perhaps it should. In any case, Twins fans should know that he is one of the best pitchers in the team’s history.