PDT Sports Editor
CINCINNATI — According to a report from the Associated Press, former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Pedro Borbon died of cancer on Monday. He was 65.
Borbon was part of the Big Red Machine teams that won back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976 and also pitched for the Angels, Giants and Cardinals. During his two championship seasons with the Reds he won 13 games and pitched 246 innings.
According to Borbon’s son, Pedro, Borbon had been in hospice care at his home in Pharr, Texas, at the time of his death and had requested to be cremated without a memorial service.
Longtime Reds scout and Wheelersburg native Gene Bennett reflected on Borbon’s passing Monday evening.
“It’s been five or so years since I last saw him,” Bennett said. “He was a hard-nosed guy as a player and always wanted the ball when the game was on the line.”
Borbon was a key cog in the Cincinnati bullpen from 1970 to 1979. During that span he appeared in more games than any pitcher in the National League. The right-hander had a 62-33 record with the Reds and holds the club record for appearances with 531 games.
“The entire organization is very sad to hear of the loss of another member of our baseball family,” Reds CEO Bob Castellini said in a statement released by the Reds. “Pedro was an important contributor to the success of the Big Red Machine, and he always will be remembered for his colorful personality and his contributions to that wonderful time period in our history.”
A native of the Dominican Republic, Borbon broke into the majors with the Angels in 1969 and joined the Reds the next season. From 1972 to 1977 he averaged almost 126 innings per season.
Bennett remembered Borbon as a close friend of current Nationals manager Davey Johnson and recalled example of Borbon’s interesting personality.
“We were playing the Mets at the time and he couldn’t get the gate in the bullpen to open to get out onto the field,” Bennett said. “So he just tore the gate off the hinges and went on in.”
In 2010, Borbon joined Clay Carroll and Wayne Granger as the only relief pitchers to be inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame.
Borbon’s final season came in 1980 with the Cardinals, where he pitched in 10 games. He compiled 80 career saves and finished with a career earned run average of 3.52.
His postseason performances might have endeared him to fans, but his clubhouse demeanor made him a favorite of those within the Reds organization.
“You had to like him,” Bennett said.
Bob Strickley may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 203, or firstname.lastname@example.org.