Twins HOF induction ‘a perfect day’ for Pascual

MINNEAPOLIS — Camilo Pascual’s curveball was a big reason he led the American League in strikeouts for three straight seasons during his career. And on Saturday, that curveball helped Pascual earn a spot in the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame.

Pascual, a native of Havana, Cuba, became the 24th member inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame prior to Saturday’s game at Target Field. He was previously inducted into both the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame and the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame.

“It’s a perfect day. I never had that great feeling like I have today,” Pascual said Friday, one day before his induction. “When they told me I was going to be a member of the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame — that really killed me. I’m really happy about it.”

Pascual spent 13 seasons with the Twins organization, including his first seven years in the league with the Washington Senators. During those 13 seasons, he was 145-141 with a 3.66 ERA. He also averaged 6.9 strikeouts per nine innings.

When recalling him favorite Twins memories, Pascual fondly remembered the 1962 season, when he earned his 20th victory of the year on the season’s final game.

“I beat the Orioles 1-0. Lenny Green got on base, and Harmon Killebrew drove in the first run, the only run of the game. So that was a great memory.”

Joining Pascual on Saturday were his family and friends, as well as several members of the Twins Hall of Fame, including Hall of Famer Rod Carew and fellow Cuban Tony Oliva.

Pascual was the only former Twin voted into this year’s Hall of Fame class. The 78-year-old Pascual threw the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game, and showed that he still had some zip on the ball by firing one to former Twins teammate and fellow Cuban Julio Becquer.

After his 13-year Twins and Senators career, Pascual went on to play three seasons with Washington and one each with Cincinnati, the Los Angeles Dodgers (where he is still a scout) and Cleveland before retiring after the 1971 season.

But Pascual left his mark with the Senators and Twins, being a part of the franchise as it moved from Washington to Minnesota in 1961.

“It’s a great memory, you know — being part of the first team to play in Minnesota,” he said. “We came from Washington, and that was an expansion team. We played in Washington in 1960, and in 1961, I thought we brought a really good young team. Everybody grew together.”

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