December 7, 2020

Ol’ Ike didn’t bring much luck to Camilo on Opening Day

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, when presidents still did such things, threw out the first pitch or attended a number of Washington Senators games during his time in office. And pitcher Camilo Pascual often was on the bump for an Opening Day start, according to Baseball Almanac and Baseball-Reference.com.

Pascual, who won 174 games over 18 seasons, mostly for the Senators and Twins, joined the Washington club in 1954 and earned his first Opening Day start in 1956.

Ike threw out the first pitch, then it was up to 22-year-old Camilo to face the Damn Yankees. Pascual, known for his curveball, struck out nine batters, but it was otherwise a long afternoon. He allowed eight runs (six earned) and served up three home runs: two to Mickey Mantle and a third to Yogi Berra. The final was 10-4, Yanks.

In August of that same season, Pascual was back on the mound and Ike was back in the stands. Here’s something that has disappeared from the face of the planet: the complete game loss. Pascual again struck out nine Yankees, including Mantle twice, but he also allowed six runs on 12 hits. Despite three home runs from the Senators’ Jim Lemon, the Sens still lost 6-4.

The following season, Camilo and Ike met again, but this time Pascual made an Opening Day relief appearance. He allowed a run over four innings and the Senators, as they so often did, lost again, 7-6 in 11 innings.

But Pascual finally put it all together for his Opening Day start of April 18, 1960. Once again Ike threw out the first pitch, then Camilo carved up the Boston Red Sox, striking out 15 over nine innings for the 10-1 win. His 15 strikeouts is still a major league record for Opening Day starts.

Extra innings…

-The Twins appear set to break up the band after they did not offer contracts to outfielder, Eddie Rosario, and reliever Matt Wisler, making them free agents. The decision on Rosario makes more sense because the Twins have a lot of young talent waiting in the wings to fill his spot in the lineup. The decision on Wisler makes less sense because the Twins are on the verge of facing a depleted bullpen. Trevor May is now a member of the New York Mets, and if free agents Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard sign elsewhere, the Twins have some work to do.

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.