Major League Baseball is growing increasingly Latin American. It's a good thing for the sports, for the Latin American communities, and for the players who leave their often impoverished homes to finally make good money and support their families. However, every so often we are reminded of the violence that lies in the darkness of those countries. This is not to say the United States is not a violent place - it is. There is simply more risk for player when they return to their home countries. Wilson Ramos was kidnapped last year, and yesterday it was reported that former MLB pitcher Pascual Perez was killed in an apparent home invasion in the Dominican Republic.
Perez pitched in the Majors for 11 seasons and retired in 1991. He pitched for Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Montreal, and the New York Yankees. He spent the most time in Atlanta - four years - and Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Consitution remembered Perez's days as a Brave.
He wasn’t the best Brave (although for 2 1/2 seasons he was pretty darn good), and he wasn’t, goodness knows, the most reliable, but Pascual Perez was the one most apt to make us smile. His enduring gift was that he, without appearing to try, made people happy. He made us happy when he ran from the dugout to the mound, happy when he pitched and won, happy that day in 1982 when he got on I-285 and just kept going.Perez finished his Major League career with a 67-68 record and a 3.44 ERA. He started 193 of the 207 games he appeared in. He wasn't dominant, but he wasn't bad. Unfortunately, Perez's biggest claim to fame may come from his involvement in drugs.
Perez was suspended twice for drug abuse, and he was arrested multiple times. The drug use was a major problem for Perez, but he wasn't a bad person. For those who saw him pitch and saw him in the community, they know that there was more to Perez than wild stories and suspensions.
Police in the Dominican are investigating the murder.