A season before the Washington Senators picked up stakes and moved to Minnesota, the Washington team kicked off its final season in D.C. in style, courtesy of a 26-year-old Cuban curveballer named, Camilo Pascual.
Pascual’s pitching that day was good enough for inclusion on Baseball-Reference.com’s top opening day pitching performances. He won 17 games the year before and got the ball against the Boston Red Sox on April 18, 1960.
Pascual struck out the first batter he faced that afternoon and settled in to do it 14 more times before his day was done. Backed by four home runs, including a 4-for-4 day from battery mate, Earl Battey, Pascual allowed a run on three hits over nine innings, with three walks and 15 strikeouts.
Bob Allison, Jim Lemon and Battey had seven of the Senators’ 10 hits, and the Washington team cruised to a 10-1 beat down of Boston. Who drove in the only run for the Red Sox? Teddy Ballgame. Playing in his final season for Boston, Williams homered in the second inning off Pascual.
-Eight years later the Twins’ Dean Chance turned in his own worthy opening day performance on April 10, 1968. The Twins were in D.C. to take on the second version of the Senators. Allison and Harmon Killebrew backed Chance with solo shots, and Chance did the rest, scattering four hits over nine innings with eight strikeouts. Who did the Twins beat that day? Their old friend, Camilo Pascual.
-And let’s not forget what current Twins starter, Jose Berrios, did a season ago on opening day. He allowed two hits over seven-plus innings with one walk and 10 strikeouts to shut out Cleveland, 2-0.
-An oversight on my part: Pascual’s 15 strikeouts is a major league record. He was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame in 2012.