Sunday, May 6, 2012

#166 John Pacella - Minnesota Twins

John Pacella appeared in the majors as early as 1977 but this is just his second and final Topps card.  If it's going to be a staged picture they might as well do it at my favorite ball yard, Tiger Stadium in Detroit.  At least he kept his hat on unlike his rookie card.

Player:  John Pacella was drafted in the 4th round by the Mets in 1974.  A starter in the minors he was called up in September of 1977 and made his debut on his 21st birthday in a relief role.  He made two more relief appearances in '77 and did not allow an earned run in four innings. 

Pacella had to wait until '79 to get another crack at the majors.  He joined the rotation late in the year for a handful of starts and allowed 8 runs in 16.1 innings.  1980 would prove to be the only year of his 15 year professional career in which he didn't pitch at least part of the year in the minors.  He began the year in long relief before joining the rotation in June.  He factored in only seven decisions, winning three with a 5.14 ERA in 84 innings. 

The hard throwing hurler had a way of losing his hat on the way to delivering the ball to the plate.  Some Mets fans found it amusing, some aggravating, while others turned it into a drinking game.  Any way you look at it, why couldn't he keep his hat on?

Anyhow, back to Pacella's career...  After the 1980 season he was traded to San Diego who dealt him in spring training to the Yankees.  He spent the entire '81 season in AAA but made the Yankee roster in '82.  He was torched in three games and sent back down to Columbus.  Shortly thereafter he was dealt to the Twins which is how he came to appear in the '83 set.  He started his first game for the Twins but was quickly banished to the pen where he toiled the rest of the year.  He had a terrible September allowing 17 runs in 6.1 innings over his last three games.  In all, he was 1-3 on the year with a 7.30 ERA.

The Twins traded Pacella to the Rangers who released him during spring training.  He pitched in the Orioles chain for the next two seasons and appeared in Baltimore for six games at the tail end of the '84 season.  He allowed 11 runs in 14.2 innings and was released after the season.  He pitched a year and a half in AAA for the Tigers before they gave him a call up in June of '86.  He allowed 5 runs in 11 innings before they sent him back down.  He pitched for two more seasons in the Tigers, Orioles, and Brewers chains and even spent time in Japan, but never made it back to the show. 

Flipside:   Topps had slim pickings for highlights but Pacella's 8-1-82 win wasn't that great.  He actually pitched 1.1 innings , not 1.2, and gave up two runs.

Oddball:  Pacella's mustache in the 70's was bordering on All-Star level and needs to be shown somewhere, so here it is. 

History:  Pacella was a journeyman making stops all over the map during his career:
Pacella had a lifetime record of 4-10 with a 5.73 ERA in 191.2 innings over fifteen pro seasons, six of them in the majors. 
These days Pacella is a pitching instructor at Big League Baseball School in Ohio.

1 comment:

  1. I vividly remember Pacella pitching for the Mets -- I must've watched one of his first games on TV. He did lose his cap on virtually every pitch. I think it was because he had a lot of hair and his pitching motion was so vigorous.