November 30, 1954 |
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|August 17, 1978 for the New York Mets|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 4, 1992 for the Kansas City Royals|
|Earned run average||3.90|
|Career highlights and awards|
Juan Bautista Berenguer (born November 30, 1954) was a Major League Baseball pitcher for the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins and other teams. He had a career record of 67 wins and 62 losses. A mean-looking, husky Panamanian (5'11, 250) with long hair and a mustache, he was called "Pancho Villa" by his teammates. Twins fans admiringly referred to him as "Senor Smoke" or "El Gasolino," due to his mid-90s mph fastball.
Berenguer signed with the Mets as an amateur free agent in 1975. He went 8–1 (3.94) for the 1987 World Champion Minnesota Twins and 8–4 (3.96) in 1988. Extremely wild as a youngster, he learned to harness his 90-plus-mph fastball, which he liked to throw inside, and added a forkball. His effectiveness was aided by his intimidating appearance and disposition.
In 1987, Berenguer also started a local craze due to his on-field dance, which fans dubbed "The Berenguer Boogie."
Berenguer suffered one of Major League Baseball's oddest off-field injuries while pitching for Atlanta in 1991. On an off day, while he was home wrestling with his kids, he broke his pitching arm and ended up missing the remainder of the season, also missing out on the Braves' Cinderella run to the World Series that year.
After his MLB career ended, Berenguer continued to play in the minor leagues. After spending 1993 and part of 1994 in the Mexican League, he returned to Minnesota, playing for the independent Minneapolis Loons and Southern Minny Stars. He signed to pitch for the Duluth-Superior Dukes of the Northern League prior to the 1998 season, but never played for them.
Berenguer married Denise Colacurcio. His son Chris is a hockey player with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League. Berenguer's daughter, Jody Berenguer, is a well-travelled business professional. She is happily married to Joe Bauer, and the two reside in the Twin Cities metro area.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)