1984 Topps Pascual Perez 675 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾
When the Braves dealt Larry McWilliams to the Pirates in 1982, they knew they were getting a live arm in return. I’m not sure they knew they were getting one of the game’s great characters. Pascual Perez was endlessly entertaining. His body would twitch in random spastic movements at every ball or strike call. He would, on occasion, lean over and peak at a runner on first through his legs. At the end of an inning, rather than walk calmly back to the bench, he would sprint as if trying to beat his teammates to the dugout. Many would “tsk tsk” at his antics, but I saw a guy who had fun playing the game. He was one of my favorites.
Following his trade from the Pirates, the Braves assigned Perez to their AAA team in Richmond. He was scheduled to make his first big league start for the Braves on August 19, 1982. I have no idea where Pascual was staying, but he had a bit of trouble. He ended up driving on I–285, Atlanta’s circular expressway, and missed his exit. He kept driving and driving. He missed his exit again. So he drove some more. He missed his exit one more time. Perez would eventually run out of gas and borrowed money from an employee at a gas station so he could get more. He finally made it to the stadium by the second inning of the game. The story was a source of endless amusement for Braves fans. Perez himself enjoyed the attention and the joke. Bill Acree even had I–285 put onto the back of his jacket.
Now, this is how I remember the story and how it has been told to the press. While looking through the game logs, it appears that this was NOT Pascual Perez’s first appearance with the Braves. It’s still a great story and Perez is still one of the most memorable and entertaining players from the period.