|Did you Know? - The Forgotten Strikeout King|
Written by Jim Amato (Contact & Archive) on July 09, 2003
“THE FORGOTTEN STRIKEOUT KING”
One of the best pitchers ever to come out of Cuba is also one of the most underrated hurlers of the 60’s. He was the ace on the staff of a normally second division team. Still in a six-year period from 1959 through 1964 a pitcher named Camilo Pascual put up some very impressive numbers.
Camilo began his major league career in 1954 with the old Washington Senators. By 1959, he had emerged as one of the premier pitchers in the American League. That year he won 17 games and posted a 2.64 E.R.A. He led the league in complete games with 17 and shutouts with 6. He also fanned 185 batters. In 1960 he won 12 games with a 3.03 E.R.A. In 1961, the old Senators moved to Minnesota and although Camilo went 15-16 on the season he led the American League with 8 shutouts and 221 strikeouts. It was the first of three straight seasons leading the American League in the whiff department.
By 1962, the Harmon Killebrew led Minnesota Twins and was beginning to gain respectability. Riding on the arms of Jim Kaat and Pascual the pitching staff began to solidify. Camilo won 20 games that year. He also led the American League in complete games and shutouts as well as strikeouts. In 1963, Pascual won a career high 21 games and again led the circuit with 18 complete games. He also posted a 2.46 E.R.A. In 1964, Camilo won 15 games with a respectable 3.30 E.R.A. while striking out 213.
In 1965, the Twins won the American League pennant but lost to the Dodgers in the World Series. Camilo went 9-3 on the year. In 1967, the Twins send the fading veteran to the 1961 expansion Senators where he won 12 games. He won 13 for Washington in 1968. His career now fading, he spent brief time with the Reds and the Dodgers before finishing in 1971 with Cleveland. In the six year span from 1959-1964, Pascual won 100 games. He had 90 complete games and 26 shutouts while fanning 1,170 batters. That is an average of 16 wins, 15 complete games, 4 shutouts, and 195 strikeouts per season. He won 20 games or more twice. He led the league in complete games, shutouts, and strikeouts three times each. Camilo finished his major league career with 174 wins and 2,167 strikeouts while ending up with a formidable 3.63 lifetime ERA. Hall of Fame numbers? Probably not, but never the less, very respectable.