He enjoyed most of his success in the Mexican Leagues in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a starting pitcher. After some struggles, he became a dominant late inning reliever before making his major league debut with the Kansas City Royals in 1974. His initial MLB experience was not very good as he pitched to a 5.63 ERA, striking out just 5 batters in 16 IP. So much for Senor Smoke, which was his nickname in the Mexican Leagues. He returned to Mexico, where he enjoyed some success before returning to the big leagues in 1978 with St Louis. The Cardinals traded him to Detroit, where he had the best moments of his MLB career.
In 1979, he was 10-5, 2.41 with 21 saves in 61 games. He had 106 Ks in 127 IP. He followed that up with a 13-6, 3.77, 21 save season in 1980 where he struck out 97 in 126 IP. After two down seasons, he re-emerged in 1983 going 9-8, 2.81, 18 saves. 1984 was his best season, where he was 10-1, 2.94 and 14 saves. He was part of the World Series Champion Tigers, pitching 3 postseason games, throwing 6 shutout innings and getting two wins. He formed a dominant late inning duo and was a big reason Detroit had such a big season.
By the time he joined Houston, his career was almost over. Houston did a nice job adding him to a bullpen that already had Dave Smith and Larry Anderson. In the 1986 postseason he was actually the forth option behind Smith, Anderson and Charlie Kerfeld. He did a great job with Detroit, pitching a lot as a closer, but the kind that consistently pitched multiple innings to get the job done. After his playing career, he became mayor in his hometown in Mexico. His second career came to an early end as he was killed in an auto accident in 1992.