Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the White Sox had a muscular lefty slugger who had a tendency to hit baseballs really far.
Dan Pasqua had the prospect pedigree, he had the look and he had the power. Remember that guy?
Daniel Anthony Pasqua was born Oct. 17, 1961 in Yonkers, N.Y. He excelled in baseball and football at Old Tappan High School in the Garden State, and was drafted by Yankees in third round of 1982 MLB Draft out of William Paterson University (Wayne, N.J.), eight picks after the White Sox selected Kenny Williams.
Pasqua started his pro career in 1982 and immediately collected Appalachian League Player of the Year honors with Paintsville (Ky.), where he hit .301/.357/.561 with 63 RBIs and a league-leading 16 home runs in 60 games. He capped off his season with four games for Oneonta of the NY-Penn league, coming in to replace of John Elway, who had to return to Stanford for his senior season of football.
Wherever Pasqua went, he punished baseballs. In 1983, he hit .273/.383/.499 with 19 long balls (and 10 triples) for Fort Lauderdale (Single-A) before getting into one game with Columbus (Triple-A). He spent all of 1984 at Double-A Nashville, where he only hit .243 in 136 games but slugged 33 home runs, leading the Southern League. The following season, Pasqua got his chance and was called up to the Bronx.
After starting the season in the minors, Pasqua wore his Yankee pinstripes for the first time on May 30, 1985 against the Angels and homered in the fifth inning off California righty Ron Romanick. Pasqua started in left field in his big league debut; the other two Yankee outfielders were Hall of Famers Dave Winfield (right field) and Rickey Henderson (center). Unfortunately, Pasqua followed that with a 3-for-26 stretch and was shipped back down to Columbus for more seasoning.
By the end of the season, Pasqua was the 1985 International League MVP despite only appearing 78 games. He mashed Triple-A pitching, hitting .321/.419/.599 with 18 homers and 69 RBIs.
It seemed like the left field job would be his to win in 1986, but Pasqua had a terrible spring. Early on, he received the news that his mother died, and understandably, he settled into an awful slump. He started the season back at Columbus, and he was solid, earning a mid-May callup. Pasqua started to look like the power prospect he was in the minors, finishing 1986 with a .293/.399/.525 slash line with 16 homers in 102 games with the Yankees. There were high hopes for 1987; among them, Sports Illustrated predicted in its season preview issue that Pasqua would be the 1987 AL home run champion.
But it was not to be, as Pasqua was sent back down after hitting .201 in 60 games to start the season. He rejoined the Yankees in mid-July, hitting .268 with nine homers and a .490 SLG through the end of the season. The Yankees were likely frustrated with the inconsistency, and in November they sent Pasqua, Steve Rosenberg and Mark Salas to the White Sox for pitchers Richard Dotson and Scott Nielsen. In his first season with the White Sox in 1988, Pasqua posted what would end up his lone career 20-homer season in the majors. He led the White Sox in long balls, though it came with a low batting average (.227).
“The Hammer,” as Hawk Harrelson would call him, missed a chunk of time in 1989 due to wrist and knee injuries (he hit .248 with 11 homers in 73 games), though on the four-year anniversary of his MLB debut, he hit a Comiskey Park roofshot on May 30 off Frank Tanana. In 1990 he put together a fine .274/.347/.495 line with 13 home runs in 112 games as the White Sox played their final season at old Comiskey Park. In the final game at the old ballyard, Pasqua’s sixth inning RBI triple scored Frank Thomas to give the White Sox a 2-1 lead, which would remain the final score — it was the last RBI in the history of Chicago’s “Baseball Palace of the World.”
Pasqua’s first two home runs at New Comiskey Park came on April 27, 1991 — the second of which traveled an incredible 484 estimated feet. Overall, he split first base duties with Thomas and also covered right field when Sammy Sosa wasn’t out there. He did impressive work, with 18 home runs in 134 games. He hit .259/.358/.465, which calculated out to a wRC+ of 130 (30 percent better than league average). Along the way, Pasqua reached the century mark in career home runs on Sept. 2.
In 1992 and '93, Pasqua struggled as he entered his 30s, putting up similar seasons — .211/.305/.347, six homers in 93 games in '92; .205/.302/.358, five homers in 78 games in 1993. One interesting nugget is that over those two seasons, the White Sox were twice held to just one hit in a game. And both times it was Pasqua breaking up a deep no-hit bid with an extra base hit. On Aug. 26, 1992, he broke the Blue Jays’ Todd Stottlemyre’s no-hit bid with a double with one out in the eighth inning. Then, on Aug. 18, 1993, Danny Darwin had a no-hit bid at Fenway Park when Pasqua hit a triple with one out in the eighth.
In 1994, Pasqua looked rejuvenated, hitting .389 with 20 RBIs in spring training, but once the regular season hit, he played 11 games before needing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He had a four-game rehab stint with Birmingham at the end of June, where he briefly was a teammate of Michael Jordan. It ended up being the end of his professional career, as his contract with the White Sox was up and injuries were taking their toll.
Pasqua finished his 10-year MLB career with exactly 3,000 plate appearances. He hit .244/.330/.438 with 117 home runs. He’s tied with Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Ichiro (among others) on the career home run list. Not bad! He’s also the only player in MLB history with at least 40 home runs for the White Sox and Yankees.
After his playing career, Pasqua became a White Sox ambassador and continues to serve as a professional instructor who helps with little league/travel teams, leagues and coaching.
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