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Orlando Peña

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Orlando Gregorio Pena Quevara

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 154 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

Orlando Pena was a Cuban-born right-hander with a wide variety of off-speed pitches. Pena's 14-year major league career spanned from 1958 to 1975 with eight different teams and included several trips back to the minor leagues.

He was acquired by the Cincinnati Reds from the Daytona Beach Islanders of the Florida State League before the 1956 season in an unknown transaction. Pena spent his first three seasons in the majors (1958-1960) used primarily as a reliever by the Cincinnati Reds before being traded to the Kansas City Athletics where he became a part of their starting rotation through 1964. Pena won a dozen games in both 1963 and 1964 but also lost a league-leading 20 in 1963. Orlando a .136 career hitter, hit one of his two big league home runs, a grand slam against the Washington Senators on May 31, 1963.

Selected off waivers by the Detroit Tigers in 1965, Orlando would pitch effectively for the Tigers in 1966 and the Cleveland Indians in 1967 before spending the next two years in the minors. His pitching days seemingly over in 1970, the 36-year-old junkballer was throwing batting practice for the Kansas City Royals when he was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1970. He was with the Pirates that year and the Baltimore Orioles in 1971 before again returning to the minors.

Oddly enough, Orlando would have his best season in baseball at age 38, pitching for the Miami Orioles of the Florida State League and the Rochester Red Wings of the International League in 1972. He had a combined 22-3 record with a 1.25 ERA, going 7-0 with a 0.90 ERA for the Red Wings and tying for the league lead in wins with 15 for the Orioles while making the All-Star team.

Orlando, the cat with nine lives, resurfaced again in the majors for three more years of bullpen work with the St. Louis Cardinals (1973-1974) and the California Angels (1974-1975) with an ERA under 3.00 for all three seasons, finally winding it down for good at age 41 in 1975 with an overall major league record of 56-77 with 40 saves and a 3.71 ERA. Pena, while doing all this work in the big leagues, found time to spend all or parts of 12 seasons in the minors where he went 148-91 with a 2.75 ERA.

Pena, who stayed in baseball as a scout for the Detroit Tigers, as of last notice, resides in Hialeah, FL.

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Baseball Players of the 1950s

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