Joe Pactwa

This article was written by Rory Costello

When it comes to two-way players, Babe Ruth was the archetype. Martín Dihigo, Bullet Joe Rogan, and Leon Day became Hall of Famers. Another Negro Leaguer, Ted Radcliffe, was renowned as “Double Duty.” In recent years, Shohei Ohtani has also attracted widespread attention.

A lesser-known example of the breed is Joe Pactwa. The lefty reached the majors as a pitcher for four games in September 1975 with the California Angels. He was coming off a season in Mexico’s summer league where he’d won Most Valuable Player honors for his feats as both ace hurler and hard-hitting outfielder.

Pactwa originally signed with the New York Yankees in 1966 as an outfielder. He showed good power in the minors, along with superior on-base percentages despite often low to middling batting averages. A few decades later, he’d have been flagged as a “Moneyball” player – but that school of thought hadn’t developed in Pactwa’s day. The experiment to put him on the mound started in 1972. For the next couple of years, he occupied a combo role in AA and AAA ball, as well as the Mexican winter league, before his breakthrough season south of the border.

After his trial with the Angels, Pactwa returned to Mexico in 1976, again doing double duty. He played there through 1978, making a final brief comeback in 1982.

Joe Pactwa – career slash lines
US minors: .252/.424/.450
Mexican summer ball: .262/.477/.479
Mexican winter ball: .217/.412/.444

Joseph Martin Pactwa was born on June 2, 1948, in Hammond, Indiana. The family name is Polish. His father, Joseph Peter Pactwa, worked for Wisconsin Steel (a major employer on the South Side of Chicago) around the time of World War II. He later became a loading dock foreman.[1] The elder Joseph married Anna (née Schuster), a seamstress for J.C. Penney and Sears. Also known as Ann or Minnie, she had five children: Linda, Nancy, Susan, Joseph, and Jerold.[2]

The Pactwa family lived in Calumet City, Illinois, just a few miles north of Hammond in the greater Chicago area. Young Joe’s idol was Mickey Mantle.[3] He went to Thornton Fractional North High School (TF North) in Calumet City, where he was primarily a pitcher.[4] As a sophomore in 1964, he threw at least two no-hitters (though one of them was a five-inning contest).[5] The following year, the Chicago Tribune named him one of the top high-school ballplayers in the metro area, representing the Southeast Suburban League.[6]

Pactwa’s 1966 season with TF North was a harbinger of his pro career. A forearm injury curtailed his pitching, but conference coaches still named him to the 10-man Southeast Suburban League all-star team. “Pactwa, a fire-balling senior, fanned 50 in 32 2/3 innings and hit an amazing .517 as Coach Ray Ruvala utilized his bat even though he was unable to pitch most of the season. Pactwa was 3-0 in league games and hurled an 18-strikeout no-hitter against Hammond Tech.”[7]

Upon graduation from high school, Pactwa was apparently headed to Loop Junior College in Chicago.[8] However, in the 18th round of the June 1966 amateur draft, the Yankees – whose marquee name was still Mantle – selected the young man, who had just turned 18. The signing scout was Lou Maguolo.

The new pro’s first assignment was the Gulf Coast League, and he hit well: .284 with three homers and 20 RBIs in 44 games. Also, right from the beginning his great eye at the plate was in evidence: his 38 walks led the league.[9] The rookie-ball circuit’s managers named him to the GCL’s all-star team.[10]

Pactwa earned a two-game look with Binghamton of the NY-Penn League (Class A). After striking out in all three at-bats at Oneonta, he went 4-for-4 at Johnson Field, the Triplets’ home ballpark. The Binghamton Press wrote, “Who in blazes is Joey Pactwa?” It described the home run he hit in his last time up as a “Ruthian arc that little Joe stood at the plate watching disappear far over the center field fence.” Pactwa was actually a muscular 5-feet-11 and 185 pounds when full-grown. Manager Frank Verdi said, “I saw he was strong when he checked his swing and still hit a ball deep down the left side.”[11]

Pactwa married his high school sweetheart, Kristine Helene Erickson, on November 3, 1966.[12] She was a year behind him.[13] They had a daughter named Kimberly and a son, also named Joseph.[14]

In 1967, Pactwa went to Greensboro in the Carolina League (Class A). Though he hit just .227 and was strikeout-prone, he drew 109 walks. That boosted his on-base percentage to .428. But it was his power – 17 homers – that led the Yankees to add him to their 40-man roster that winter.[15]

Greensboro manager Bob Bauer raved about the prospect. He proclaimed, “This is a superstar of the future. Remember, Joe’s only a baby right now with limited experience, but he has the mark of greatness upon him.”[16]

After a stint in the Florida Instructional League, Pactwa moved up to Class AA for 1968. He was back in Binghamton, as the Triplets franchise had returned to the Eastern League. Pactwa’s season did not go well. At the heart of it was a three-week stretch on the disabled list starting on June 30. A 1981 retrospective baseball card noted, “Joe’s career might have prospered more if not for an injury to his knee in 1968. Joe suffered torn cartilage…after crashing into a fence…trying to make a catch.”[17]

Joe Pactwa (TRADING CARD DB)In that game, Pactwa was manning center field for the first time at Johnson Field. Pursuing a “catchable fly ball,” he ran into the concrete base of the flagpole in center. The batter, Elmira pitcher Paul Gilliford, wound up with a three-run triple. Pactwa was carried off the field and taken to the hospital. The initial diagnosis was just a bruise, and he was expected to be sidelined for only a week.[18] At some point, though, he apparently underwent surgery.[19]

Coverage of Pactwa in The Sporting News didn’t mention this injury – but did provide further evidence of how hard he played in the outfield. On May 22, his diving catch of a liner to the gap in right-center with the bases loaded in the 10th inning preserved a 6-4 win. Landing knocked the wind out of him.[20] In early June, at Pittsfield’s Wahconah Park, he ran into the fence and his left elbow struck a scaffolding nail. The joint puffed up so badly that his arm had to go into a sling, and he missed a couple of days.[21] The Binghamton Press also described the Pittsfield play, noting that “the hell-for-leather outfielder…was knocked unconscious.” He’d previously made “several bruising dives for catches.”[22] It was reminiscent of Pete Reiser, whose reckless abandon in the outfield had curtailed his career a couple of decades before.

By season’s end, Pactwa had just four homers and 37 RBIs while hitting .191, though his ability to work out walks kept his on-base percentage healthy at .357. The Yankees were not impressed. Pactwa dropped back to the Carolina League in 1969. With Kinston, he took a moderate step forward: eight homers, 50 RBIs, .424 OBP despite an unimposing .256 batting average.

In his age-22 season, 1970, Pactwa re-established himself as a prospect with Manchester (New Hampshire) of the Eastern League (EL). In 132 games, his 25 homers and 74 RBIs led the team. He lifted his average to .285, and his OBP – always a strength – was a truly outstanding .476. He even stole a career-high 14 bases.

Pactwa received an entry in The Sporting News Baseball Register for 1971. It noted his nickname (the rather obvious “Packy”) and his hobby of playing guitar.

After starting the 1971 season at Triple-A Syracuse but playing in only six games, Pactwa spent most of the year at Double-A again, with Charlotte of the Dixie Association. His power production remained high, with 20 homers, tying the club record.[23] He was modest about the long balls, though, as seen after he hit three straight on July 21. “Luck, that’s all this game is,” he said. “I’d rather be lucky than good any day.”[24] His OBP also remained lofty at .412 overall.

Pactwa spent all of 1972 at Syracuse. Despite a .386 OBP, he hit just .209 with 13 homers and 39 RBIs. He made his first two appearances as a pitcher that summer, and that August came news that he would go to the Florida Instructional League for an experiment in converting him into a hurler.[25] The idea may have come from either the Yankees’ farm director, former catcher George Pfister, or organizational pitching coach Cloyd Boyer, who’d managed Pactwa for part of 1968 at Binghamton. Boyer was also the pitching instructor in Florida.

For 1973, Pactwa stepped back once more to the Eastern League. He entered the starting rotation of the West Haven Yankees. After his debut, a 10-1 victory in which he scattered six hits, he said, “I’ve wanted to pitch in professional baseball ever since I was a kid.”[26]

On June 18, Pactwa beat Quebec City, 5-3, helping himself with a homer. Afterward, however, he expressed discontent with the organization. “I think I can be a big league pitcher and I think I also can make it as an outfielder, but the Yankees have never given me a chance.”[27]

His record then stood at 3-5 – but he adjusted his mechanics and got hot. After pitching a shutout on July 2, Pactwa said, “I used to telegraph my screwball. I was throwing it sidearm and I guess the batters picked it up. Now I’m throwing it over the top and it makes a difference.”[28] He had well-qualified guidance from two future big-league skippers. Manager Doc Edwards had been a catcher in his playing days, and backup catcher Grady Little was an unofficial coach.[29]

A 2-1 11-inning victory over Pittsfield on July 19 displayed both of Pactwa’s dimensions. His homer gave West Haven its first run, and he gave up just four hits before Edwards went to the bullpen for the last two outs. Pactwa said, “That’s the longest I’ve ever pitched. Thank God for the screwball. That was the pitch that kept me in there all night.”[30]

Pactwa finished his first full year on the mound with very respectable marks: a 12-6 won-lost record with a 3.18 ERA in 170 innings. He led the EL in ERA (for pitchers with 150 or more innings) and tied for the lead in wins with three others.[31]

Including his 24 games as a pitcher, Pactwa played in 78 total. Edwards used him in the outfield, at first base (where he’d played occasionally in the past), and as a pinch-hitter. (The EL didn’t use the designated hitter that year.[32]) His numbers on offense were eye-popping: in 186 trips to the plate, he hit .378 with 13 homers. His OBP was a stratospheric .516. A quote from Chip Lang, then an Expos pitching prospect with Quebec City, illustrates both stats. As Lang sought to get the last out of a seven-inning no-hitter in the nightcap of an August 4 doubleheader, Pactwa came up as a pinch-hitter. Lang walked him and said later, “I was worried about him because some of my teammates told me he could break up a game with one swing.”[33]

After the season ended, though, Pactwa remained down on his future with the Yankees. “I’ve asked to be traded or released,” he said.[34]

On a brighter note, Pactwa’s experience in Mexico began in the winter of 1973-74, as he joined Venados de Mazatlán in the Mexican Pacific League (LMP). In 26 games as a batter, he hit just .128 (4-for-31) but homered twice and drew 13 walks. He took the mound in eight games, all starts, going 4-3 with a 2.88 ERA, including two shutouts. One of those was a one-hitter on January 8, and his homer scored the game’s only run.[35]

The Deer won the LMP championship and advanced to the Caribbean Series, facing the region’s other winter league champs. Pactwa lost a tough 2-1 game to John Montague, representing Puerto Rico. Mexico committed two costly errors in the seventh inning.[36]

The Yankees didn’t grant their unhappy farmhand’s wish to move on, but his performance for West Haven earned him a return to Syracuse for 1974. Things did not go well, though – either as pitcher (4-9, 4.41 ERA in 100 innings despite the presence of Cloyd Boyer) or hitter (.234-1-9 in just 58 plate appearances). He appeared in 28 games as a pitcher and 49 overall, though his action in the field was limited to a couple of brief outings at first base. His season was marred by a broken foot.[37]

As it developed, the Yankees sold Pactwa’s contract in early December to Alijadores (Lightermen or Dockworkers) de Tampico. By one later account, which fits with his prior remarks, Pactwa pressured the Yankees into letting him seek his fortunes in Mexico.[38] However, another story showed that Tampico wanted Pactwa for his lefty power hitting. The club’s co-owner, Sergio Kreimerman, said, “The ball, it flies to right field in our park.” Kreimerman also had a notion to seek Pactwa’s boyhood hero Mickey Mantle as manager, but instead he hired a Mexican, Benny Valenzuela.[39]

A subsequent story out of Mexico also discussed the transaction. Kreimerman expressed his interest in Pactwa to Yankees executive Tal Smith, who said that New York would not be picking up the player’s option. He promised Kreimerman that he wouldn’t do anything until they talked at the winter meetings in New Orleans. Meanwhile, Pactwa was playing again for Mazatlán. He said to Kreimerman, “The majors don’t interest me much. If I reach that goal someday, I’d be the happiest man, but if I stay in Mexico, I’m delighted playing here.”[40]

As the negotiations were brewing, a report in a Mexico City paper indicated that the Monterrey Sultanes had bought Pactwa’s contract, but Smith told Kreimerman that he was a man of his word. In New Orleans, Kreimerman closed the deal with Smith and Pat Gillick, who was then also a member of the Yankees front office.[41]

Pactwa had his best season as a batter in the LMP in 1974-75, smacking 12 homers in 131 at-bats across 64 games. Thus, he acquired another nickname: “Popeye” (after the cartoon sailor strongman). He added 39 walks. On the mound, he was 5-10 in a league-leading 19 starts, posting a good ERA of 3.07 despite walking 86 men in 135 innings.

In January 1975, Pactwa joined the Hermosillo Naranjeros as a playoff reinforcement (a common practice in winter ball).[42] In the first round against Guasave, he scattered five hits and went all the way to win Game Four, 4-1. Hermosillo advanced to the finals against Navojoa. With an outstanding save by Francisco Barrios, who retired the last 11 batters consecutively, Pactwa won Game Two, 3-2. Two days later, the Orange Growers became league champs by finishing their series sweep.[43] Thus, Pactwa got into another Caribbean Series. He became the first DH in tournament history, striking out against Joaquín Andújar of the Dominican Republic.[44] Later that series, he homered off Puerto Rico’s Tom Walker.[45]

When the 1975 “summer” season rolled around – it started in March – Benny Valenzuela initially used his new import as pitcher and DH. After about three weeks, though, Valenzuela decided that everyday duty was too much.[46] Pactwa quickly emerged as the staff ace. Early in the season, he compiled a streak of 27 scoreless innings.[47] He was described as “sensational in double duty.” For example, three days after winning a game as pitcher, he played outfield and hit a homer in the 11th inning to bring in the game’s only run.[48] Sportswriters took to calling him “the Babe Ruth of the Mexican League.”[49] (That label was most frequently applied, however, to a Tampico teammate, local slugging hero Héctor Espino.)

After losing 10 days to a leg injury in June, Pactwa picked up where he left off, firing his third and fourth consecutive shutouts.[50] He added a fifth, tying the league record set by Jim Horsford (1968) and equaled by Juan Pizarro (1974).[51] He proceeded to tie Horsford’s record for consecutive scoreless innings (51).[52]

According to Pactwa’s son Joe, the mark reached 52 1/3 innings, as shown in diamonds on a ring awarded by the club that is still in Joe Jr.’s possession. Joe Jr. also said that his father recalled going another 27 scoreless innings after the record streak was snapped. However, press coverage and the available records differ.[53]

Pactwa won 17 games and lost just six in the regular season while recording a 2.51 ERA in 201 innings. He also hit .299 with 13 homers and 38 RBIs. Yet again, his OBP was superior at .490.

His heroics continued in the postseason. In the first round of the playoffs against Unión Laguna, Pactwa threw two more shutouts.[54] Then in the semifinals against Monterrey, going on only two days’ rest, he blanked the Sultanes to clinch the series.[55] Finally, he helped bring Tampico its first league championship since 1946 by winning Game Three of the finals against Córdoba. As DH, he had a key double in the climactic Game Five.[56]

Soon thereafter, Pactwa was named league MVP – though he did not make the official all-star team (Ricardo Sandate of Poza Rica – 13-6, 1.42 ERA – was voted the top lefty pitcher).[57] The Mexican baseball magazine HIT called it “the best signing of the year.” Kreimerman had paid just $12,000 for Pactwa’s contract.[58]

Pactwa reiterated how much he liked playing in Mexico. He said that his family was happy too. He added, however, that “it would be wonderful if I could wake up someday and find myself playing in the big leagues.”[59]

That chance came in September, thanks to Frank Lane. The former general manager called “Trader Frank” was then an Angels scout living in Mexico. California needed pitching because three starters – Nolan Ryan, Bill Singer, and Andy Hassler – were sidelined. Lane said, “What impressed me about [Pactwa] was he had a lot of men on base, but they didn’t score.”[60]

Pactwa reported to the Angels in Kansas City.[61] He made the cover of HIT. The caption (translated): “His big season opened the doors to an opportunity in the Big Show.”

The 27-year-old rookie’s big-league debut came on September 15 at Minnesota. He survived a shaky first inning, in which he allowed two runs on four straight singles and a wild pitch. In the second, he escaped a bases-loaded, nobody-out jam with just one run scoring. After that, though, he settled down and pitched five scoreless innings before yielding to veteran reliever Jim Brewer. The Angels had given Pactwa a 5-3 lead, but Brewer surrendered the tying runs in the bottom of the ninth. The Twins won in 12, 7-6.

Four days later, at Anaheim Stadium, came a rematch against Minnesota and Bert Blyleven. Pactwa got his only decision in the majors – a win, as he outdueled the future Hall of Famer. Again, he went seven innings, scattering nine hits and four walks while holding the opponents scoreless. The Angels scored just one run, but this time Brewer made it stand up, entering after Pactwa issued a leadoff walk in the eighth.

“I’m the happiest guy in the world,” Pactwa said after running to the mound and giving Brewer a bear hug once the game was over. “I got tired in the seventh inning. My arm started to lag. I’m strictly a control pitcher – sliders and slow balls mostly.” He added, “I developed good control in the Mexican League because they don’t swing at many pitches and you have to get them over. I was in the Mexican League just to have some fun and a good time. But when I found out I could get guys out I started to take it seriously.”[62]

On September 23, Pactwa got another turn in the rotation. Facing the Chicago White Sox at home, he got knocked out of the box in the second inning and was charged with four earned runs. The Angels came back to tie it, so he got no decision, but the White Sox prevailed, 5-4.

Pactwa’s last appearance in the majors came in the season finale on September 28 at Oakland. With the A’s up, 5-0, he tossed a scoreless eighth inning. The game was notable because Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott, Paul Lindblad, and Rollie Fingers threw a combined no-hitter.

Mainly because of designated hitters in the AL, Pactwa never had a big-league plate appearance. He came close on September 22, though. According to Adrian Garrett, who hit the game-winning homer for California as a pinch-hitter in the 16th inning, manager Dick Williams told him and Pactwa to get ready. Williams said that Pactwa would have been next off the bench.[63] Angels beat writer Dick Miller speculated that if Pactwa didn’t make the club as a pitcher the following season, he might have to get a shot as DH.[64]

Pactwa returned to Mexican winter ball in 1975-76, but with a new club, the Guaymas Ostioneros (Oystermen). He hit eight homers in 148 at-bats across 53 games while averaging just .203 – yet 52 walks lifted his OBP above .400. He also posted his best numbers as a pitcher in the LMP: a 9-6 record in 16 starts with a 2.45 ERA.

Once again, he served as a playoff reinforcement, this time for Los Mochis. Hermosillo swept the first-round series; Pactwa lost Game Three to Francisco Barrios, 4-2. Los Mochis was behind only 1-0 until the ninth, when the U.S. lefty weakened and gave up three runs. Horacio Piña replaced him as pitcher, but Pactwa stayed in the game and homered in the ninth, his second round-tripper of the series.[65]

Dick Williams viewed Pactwa as a candidate for a spot at the back end of the Angels’ rotation in spring training 1976.[66] He made it to the final cut. His last outing in a big-league uniform came in an exhibition game against the University of Southern California on April 7.[67] When reassigned, Pactwa elected to have his contract resold to Tampico rather than report to California’s Triple-A club in Salt Lake City.[68]

Back with the Alijadores, Pactwa’s pitching fell off. He posted a 6-10 won-lost record and a 3.68 ERA while starting 19 games and pitching 110 innings. He got into 56 total games, hitting .289 with 12 home runs and a .449 OBP. A doubleheader against Aguascalientes in July exemplified his season. He lost the first game while pitching but powered a victory in the nightcap with two homers, including the game-winning grand slam in the 10th.[69]

Pactwa spent one last winter in the Mexican Pacific League in 1976-77. He started with Guaymas but went to Mexicali partway through the season. As a hitter, he totaled 10-for-41 (.244) with one homer in 18 games. He appeared 11 times as a pitcher (2-6, 4.89 ERA).

He then split the summer of 1977 between Tampico and the Saltillo Saraperos. His mound action was limited and undistinguished: a total record of 2-7 and a 5.05 ERA in 57 innings across 14 games. He remained a force at bat, however, with 15 homers and 48 RBIs in 116 games. He drew 132 walks – then a league record – which meant another first-rate OBP of .480. He set another league mark by drawing seven of those walks in consecutive plate appearances for Tampico on June 22 and 23.[70]

The 1978 season was the first since 1971 in which Pactwa did not pitch. In 35 games with the Coahuila Miners, he hit just .212-2-9 – yet his superb eye brought him 52 walks and a .515 OBP.

After four years out of the game, Pactwa returned to action in Mexico with the Reynosa Broncos. The comeback was short-lived. In two appearances, he totaled just one inning and was reached for five runs – i.e., a 45.00 ERA.

Pactwa’s second wife, Karen Purnell Pactwa, described the last stage of his career. “When he left baseball for four years, it was because he was having such a problem with his elbow when pitching. He thought he was done. After four years his arm felt good and he thought he could go back to the game he loved. Unfortunately, as soon as he went back to pitching the pain started again.

“After he was back in the States, he finally went to the doctor and ended up having surgery. The bone was chipped, which was what was causing all the pain.”

By then, the Pactwa children were school age; Joe and Kris didn’t want to keep moving them. Because of that and his elbow, he stayed retired from baseball. He worked for many years installing cable in southern California. He coached Little League baseball during that time.

By 1989, the children had been raised, and Joe and Kris separated. Joe moved back to Calumet City, where his family still lived. “That is when we met,” said Karen. “Joe and I married in March of 1992. At that time Joe changed his career path and became an over the road truck driver.”

In late 2006 or early 2007, Pactwa was diagnosed with bone cancer. After a long battle, he died on March 10, 2009, in Hutchins, Texas (in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, where he and Karen had lived for some time). “There was no obituary that I can remember,” said Karen. Pactwa was cremated, and “his sister obtained permission for his ashes to be scattered at the old Yankee Stadium. I believe the new one was built and they were demolishing the old one at that time. Whether that was truly carried out, I am unsure.”[71]

Pactwa was deceased by the time Shohei Ohtani arrived on the scene. While he was still with us, however, another similar player, Brooks Kieschnick, extended his career with his two-way ability. Kieschnick won a roster spot with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2003 and 2004 as a pitcher, pinch-hitter, and occasional outfielder (his original position). It would be fun to know what Pactwa might have thought about Kieschnick’s role.

Originally published March 4, 2022. Most recently updated November 16, 2022.


Thanks to Mrs. Karen Pactwa for her assistance (e-mail to Rory Costello, February 22, 2022) and to Joe Pactwa Jr. (e-mail to Rory Costello, October 24, 2022).

This biography was reviewed by Gregory H. Wolf and Jan Finkel and checked for accuracy by members of SABR’s fact-checking team. Continued thanks to SABR members Malcolm Allen and Paul Proia for additional research, as well as Jesús Alberto Rubio in Mexico.


In addition to the sources cited in the Notes,, La Enciclopedia del Béisbol Mexicano (2012 edition), and the Mexican Pacific League encyclopedia online ( were useful.


[1] Joseph P. Pactwa, World War II draft card and death certificate.

[2] Anna W. Pactwa obituary, Times of Northwest Indiana, June 6, 1999.

[3] Tomás Morales, “Pactwa Finds His Place in Mexico,” The Sporting News, August 2, 1975: 36.

[4] “Pactwa Turns Pitcher,” The Sporting News, May 19, 1973: 37.

[5] “Pactwa in No-Hitter,” The Times (Munster, Indiana), May 24, 1964: F-7.

[6] Ralph Leo, “Tribune Names Final Prep Baseball Stars for 1965 Season in City, Suburbs,” Chicago Tribune, June 24, 1965: 2A.

[7] “Joe Pactwa, Allen Make ‘Star’ Team,” Hammond (Indiana) Times, June 7, 1966: C-2.

[8] Morales, “Pactwa Finds His Place in Mexico.”

[9] The Sporting News Baseball Register, 1971.

[10] “Champion Yanks Dominate Gulf Coast All-Star Unit,” The Sporting News, September 24, 1966: 34.

[11] John W. Fox, “Strangers in Trip Spotlight,” Binghamton Press, September 1, 1966: 2-D.

[12] Joe Pactwa’s contract card from The Sporting News collection.

[13] Kris Pactwa listing on

[14] Pactwa contract card. Kimberly was the only child listed, but Karen Pactwa confirmed that Joseph was also part of the family (e-mail to Rory Costello, February 22, 2022, hereafter “Karen Pactwa e-mail”).

[15] Jim Ogle, “Yanks Drop Biletnikoff, Bryan, McDonald, Add Five Youngsters,” The Sporting News, November 4, 1967: 44.

[16] Jim Ogle, “Yanks See Brighter Days with Coming Stars,” The Sporting News, January 27, 1968: 29.

[17] Joe Pactwa, TCMA baseball card, 1981, accessed via

[18] Bill Hart, “Out Pitch for Munson Is All the Way Out,” Binghamton Press, July 1, 1968: 9-C.

[19] Pactwa TCMA baseball card.

[20] “Great Catch by Pactwa,” The Sporting News, June 8, 1968: 40.

[21] “Eastern League,” The Sporting News, June 29, 1968: 41.

[22] “Pactwa ‘Disarmed’, All He Needs Is Feet,” Binghamton Press, June 10, 1968: 8-B.

[23] “Carolina League All-Stars,” The Sporting News, October 20, 1979: 34.

[24] “Pactwa Calls It Luck,” The Sporting News, August 7, 1971: 45. Pactwa was apparently on loan to Jacksonville for this performance, which calls the Charlotte club record above into question.

[25] “Chiefs Split Pair,” Syracuse Post-Standard, August 14, 1972: 14.

[26] “Pactwa Turns Pitcher.”

[27] “Unhappy with Yankees,” The Sporting News, July 7, 1973: 39.

[28] “Yankee Discoveries,” The Sporting News, July 21, 1973: 41. It is not known why Pactwa had the screwball in his repertoire. One may speculate, however, that he was influenced by Luis Arroyo, another lefty who used it as his out pitch. Arroyo was a Yankees scout in Puerto Rico at that time.

[29] Paul Doyle, “Little Goes a Long Way,” Hartford Courant, March 20, 2002

[30] “Homer-Hitting Pitcher,” The Sporting News, August 11, 1973: 39.

[31] 2018 Eastern League Media Guide and Record Book. Two of the other co-leaders in wins went on to much success in the majors: teammate Scott McGregor and Kent Tekulve. The other, Erskine Thomason, had an even shorter big-league career than Pactwa’s: one inning in 1974.

[32] “Caught on the Fly,” The Sporting News, October 13, 1973: 20.

[33] Paul Marslano, “Lang Chips In with Quebec City Gem,” The Sporting News, August 18, 1973: 42.

[34] “Eastern League,” The Sporting News, September 15, 1973: 27.

[35] Alfonso Araujo Bojórquez, “Un Día Como Hoy: 8 de Enero,” El Valle (Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, Mexico), January 8, 2013: G-1.

[36] José Antero Núñez, Series del Caribe, Caracas, Venezuela: Impresos Urbina, C.A. (1994 edition): 186.

[37] Ed Reddy, “Tides Drop Chiefs Twice,” Syracuse Post-Standard, August 8, 1974: 13.

[38] Dick Miller, “Pactwa Impresses Angels as a Likely Starter in ’76,” The Sporting News, October 11, 1975: 10.

[39] Steve Wilstein, “Wide world of cousins Kreimerman,” Bennington (Vermont) Banner, December 4, 1974: 13.

[40] “La Mejor Contratación del Año: Joe Pactwa,” HIT, September 19, 1975 (page number not shown).

[41] “La Mejor Contratación del Año: Joe Pactwa.”

[42] Jesús Álvarez Palafox, “Joe Pactwa y Su Paso ex la Mex-Pac,”, March 27, 2020 (

[43] Manuel Sortillón Valenzuela, “Emergente de Lujo,” Historia de Hermosilla website, unspecified date (

[44] Antero Núñez, Series del Caribe: 203.

[45] Antero Núñez, Series del Caribe: 197.

[46] Morales, “Pactwa Finds His Place in Mexico.”

[47] “Mexican League,” The Sporting News, April 26, 1975: 28.

[48] “Double Duty Star,” The Sporting News, May 3, 1975: 30.

[49] “Mexican League,” The Sporting News, May 31, 1975: 32.

[50] “Pactwa Keeps Going,” The Sporting News, July 26, 1975: 32.

[51] Morales, “Pactwa Finds His Place in Mexico.”

[52] “Pactwa’s Streaks End,” The Sporting News, August 9, 1975: 38.

[53] E-mail from Joe Pactwa Jr. to Rory Costello, October 24, 2022.

[54] Roberto Hernández, “Volkening and Bourque Star in Mexican League’s Playoffs,” The Sporting News, August 30, 1975: 38.

[55] Roberto Hernández, “Tampico and Cordoba Advance to Pennant Round in Mexico,” The Sporting News, September 6, 1975: 38.

[56] Roberto Hernández, “Tampico Fans Explode Over Mexican Pennant,” The Sporting News, September 13, 1975: 35, 38.

[57] Tomás Morales, “Pactwa Named Mexico’s MVP,” The Sporting News, September 27, 1975: 33.

[58] “La Mejor Contratación del Año: Joe Pactwa.”

[59] Morales, “Pactwa Finds His Place in Mexico.”

[60] Miller, “Pactwa Impresses Angels as a Likely Starter in ’76.”

[61] “Angels sign Mexico Star,” Santa Ana (California) Register, September 15, 1978: 28.

[62] “Pactwa hurls Angels to 1-0 shutout win, Redlands (California) Daily Facts, September 20, 1975: 6.

[63] “White Sox Lose on One Pitch,” The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois), September 23, 1975: 15.

[64] Miller, “Pactwa Impresses Angels as a Likely Starter in ’76.”

[65] Manuel Sortillón Valenzuela, “Caribe Dominado,” Historia de Hermosilla website, unspecified date (

[66] Dick Miller, “It’s Do or Die for Angels’ Miley, Torres,” The Sporting News, March 6, 1976: 23.

[67] “Angels Whip Trojans, 6-3,” Long Beach Independent, April 8, 1976, C-2. Pactwa pitched the final three innings. He allowed all three of USC’s runs in the ninth, giving up a walk to future Dodgers farmhand Larry Fobbs, a single to Tim Tolman, and a three-run homer to Rob Hertel, who had a brief career as a quarterback in the NFL.

[68] Dick Miller, “Longshot Hartzell May Let Angels Connect for Jackpot,” The Sporting News, May 1, 1976: 18.

[69] “Bat Surpasses Arm,” The Sporting News, July 17, 1976: 38. On a side note, another former big-leaguer – John Matias – started serving as a pitcher/position player in Mexico that year.

[70] Quién Es Quién 2021, Liga Mexicana de Béisbol.

[71] Karen Pactwa e-mail.

Full Name

Joseph Martin Pactwa


June 2, 1948 at Hammond, IN (USA)


March 10, 2009 at Hutchins, TX (USA)

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