Dennis and Pascual
Their stories are very very similar. Both ran into trouble with cocaine and were basically kicked off their teams and no one else wanted them but that great entity the Montreal Expos signed them up and gave them a second chance and both of these guys paid off huge.
After two great years with the Braves, Pascual went 1-13 with a 6.14 ERA in 85 and then was injured all of 86...so no one was really expecting huge things from this guy when they signed him. They got good pitching from him but more importantly a guy with entertainment value that was off the charts. This guy sold tickets.
Pascual Perez was legitimately and wonderfully insane. Not in the bad way but the fun kind you know. I remember getting those Expos calendars on opening day and flipping through them in like 89 or 90...and hitting the Pascual page and being immediately fascinating by this nut. I remember the picture...he had his eyes closed, his hands hanging on to this batting cage fence and he was flashing his teeth with the weirdest smile. Watching this guy pitch was an art...watching how he melded his whackiness into his pitching was like watching performance art. Talking to the ball like it was his pal, looking through his legs at the baserunners...throwing these exaggerated eephus pitches that were literally 10 mile an hour arching rainbow beachballs to the hitters. Pascual was having fun out there...serious fun out there and I think everyone found him refreshing and entertaining...I'm sure a lot of people who saw baseball as a little boring or stuffy I think were won over as fans by Pascual in the late 80's.
Dennis was the first Nicarauguan to play in the majors. He had some great years for the Orioles pitching with long hair down to his ankles almost. but...
Similar to Perez, Martinez had troubles with his team. He had three straight years with an ERA well over 5 as a starter in a pitching era (so 5 is pretty bad in that era). Expos needed some pitching so they gave the Orioles two bums John Stefero and Rene Gonzalez in exchange for Dennis. They got him do some mopup work to help the staff finish out 86 and that's what he did and not much was expected from him in 87 or after. He was already 32 years old at this point, he was literally a crusty moldy ol' washed up bum. But in 1987 he goes 14 and 4 with a 3.30 ERA and then keeps getting BETTER AND BETTER every successive year for the next 5 seasons! They got 6 stellar ace years out of this guy and as we all know he was responsible for one of the most important and memorable moments in Expos history on that glorious day on July 28th of 1991.
Two days before on the 26th, Mark Gardner had a no-hitter going into the tenth inning and Lenny Harris broke it up. I guess Dennis' competetive edge got going and he was like "hey if you can do I can do it a little better" so two days later he blanks the Dodgers 27 up and 27 down take a seat you jobbers. Chris Gwynn, Tony Gwynn's brother, flied out to the Grip and the greatest announcer ever that man Dave Van Horne yelled "El Presidente El Perfecto!" and that is without a doubt one of the most historic moments in the long history of the Montreal Expos.