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Joe Pactwa

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Joseph Martin Pactwa

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Joe Pactwa was a slugging outfielder who made his only major league appearances as a pitcher.

Pactwa hit 25 home runs in the 1970 Eastern League, tying for fourth in the circuit. Remaining at AA the next season, he hit 20 more long balls for the Charlotte Hornets, fifth in the Southern League. In 1973 Pactwa began pitching in addition to playing the field. He hit .378 for the West Haven Yankees and went 12-6 on the mound with a 3.18 ERA. He was part of a five-way tie for the Eastern League lead in victories, with Kent Tekulve, Pat Zachry, Scott McGregor and Erskine Thomason and he led the league in ERA. Pactwa was a full-time pitcher in 1974 for the Syracuse Chiefs, but he went just 4-9 with a 4.41 ERA.

In 1975 Joe went to the Mexican League to ply his trade for the Tampico Lightermen. He had his second strong season on the mound, completing 18 of 26 outings with 7 shutouts. He was 17-6 with a 2.51 ERA and struck out 189 in 201 innings, while surrendering only 4 home runs. He finished fourth in the Liga in wins, fifth in strikeouts and second in shutouts. But that wasn't all - he also returned to offense as a DH and hit .299/~.494/.565, hitting 13 homers in 184 AB and drawing 66 walks in 73 games. At the end of that season, he received a brief tryout as a pitcher with the California Angels. He pitched 4 games, 3 of them starts, winning one with a 3.86 ERA; however, his K/W ratio was a very poor 3/10 in 16⅓ innings.

In 1976, Pactwa's pitching began to slip, as he fell to 6-10 with a 3.68 ERA for Tampico. He made up for it with the stick, as he homered 12 times in 135 AB and drew 39 walks. His line for the season was .289/~.458/.585, again indicating he should have been playing every day, especially with his pitching in decline.

The next season Pactwa went just 2-7 on the mound with a 5.05 ERA; he would not pitch again except for one inning in 1982. Splitting time between Tampico and the Saltillo Saraperos, Pactwa became a regularly-used batter. He hit just .244 and his slugging fell to .431 but he went deep 15 times in 295 AB. Even more impressively, he coaxed 132 walks in 116 games, breaking William Parlier's 7-year old Mexican League record, for an OBP around .481. Pactwa accomplished this without playing every game and despite being used as a regular starter on the mound. Pactwa's record would stand for seven seasons as well, before it in turn was broken by Al Greene.

Joe became an even more one-dimensional player the next season, abandoning his pitching and seeing his power hitting disappear. Playing for the Coahuila Mineros he batted just .212 and slugged just .306. He drew 52 walks in his 138 plate appearances and 35 games, for an OBP of .514, darned amazing for a guy so close to the Mendoza Line. At age 30, Pactwa's career was over. He would appear twice for the Reynosa Broncos in 1982 before retiring.

In Mexico, Pactwa's career line was .262/~.482/.479 with 42 homers in 702 AB.

Main source: "The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics" by Pedro Treto Cisneros

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