Monday, October 26, 2015

#4 Carlos Paula - Washington Nationals

Carlos (Conill) Paula
Washington Nationals

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'3"  Weight:  195
Born:  November 28, 1927, La Habana, Cuba
Signed:  Signed by the Washington Senators prior to the 1954 season as a free agent formerly with the Paris Indians of the independent Big State League
Major League Teams:  Washington Senators 1954-1956
Died:  April 25, 1983, Miami, FL (age 55)

The Cuban-born Paula was the first black player in Washington Senators history.  He enjoyed an excellent rookie season in 1955, hitting .299 with six home runs and 45 RBIs in 115 games.  His numbers fell off in 1956 and the Senators sold him in April 1958 to the independent Sacramento Solons of the Pacific Coast League.  Paula would bounce around several minor league teams between 1958 and 1959 and appeared in 85 games for the Mexico City Tigers in 1960 before retiring.

Building the Set
August 29, 1996 in Winston-Salem, NC - Card #143
I attended college at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  On humid days, or after a heavy rain, the air was heavy with the faint smell of tobacco.  I absolutely loved my time as a Demon Deacon and I realize how lucky I was to be able to attend such a phenomenal college.

July 9, 1996 - Dad and me at the 1996 All-Star Game,
There was a baseball card store called Season Ticket on Silas Creek Parkway that I discovered half-way through my senior year, and I'd frequent the store whenever I had a little extra spending money - which honestly wasn't very often.  Given the timing of this purchase, I don't remember if my Dad was with me or not.  Save for a visit north for the 1996 All-Star Game, I spent the summer of 1996 living in Winston-Salem and this might have been a pre-start of the semester purchase that I made on my own.  I paid $10 for a lot of four cards needed for our 1956 Topps set, which included this card.  $10 would have bought a lot of Taco Ball back then (and it still would now) but adding four more cards to our set was worth the sacrifice.

I haven't been back to North Carolina in over a decade and whenever I get around to taking my wife and my sons on a road trip to visit my old campus, I'd love to see if Season Ticket is still there.

The Card
The head shot used is the same photo used for Paula's 1955 Topps card.  Topps preferred to call the Washington team by their more-popular nickname (Nationals) even though their official team name was the Senators.  I found this interesting article on the name conundrum which sheds some light on the confusion.

I could never figure out what's happening in the action shot.  Is the player (perhaps Paula) sliding back into second base following a pick-off throw or perhaps an outfielder had caught a fly ball and he's trying to not get doubled off?

Depending on whether you believe Baseball Reference or Topps, Paula was born on either November 28, 1927 (per Baseball Reference) or November 4, 1928 (per Topps).  I'm going to side with Baseball Reference whenever there's a discrepancy like this.  Topps touts Paula's speed on the back of his card, yet he stole just two bases in his 157 big league games.

1956 Season
I was surprised to see from Paula's Baseball Reference page that he played with the Senators, Yankees and Phillies minor league teams in 1956, all while apparently still the property of the Senators.  The 28-year-old Paula was up with the Senators in May and June, appearing in 33 games all in right or left field and hitting .183 (15 for 82) with three home runs.

Phillies Connection
As I mentioned above, Paula played briefly for the Miami Marlins in 1956 who were the Phillies Triple-A affiliate at the time.  He appeared in 11 games for the Marlins, hitting just .158.

1955 Topps #97
1979 TCMA '50s #205
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1955 Topps #97
First Topps Card:  1955 Topps #97
Last Topps Card:  1956 Topps #4
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  1979 TCMA '50s #205

6 - Paula non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 10/29/15

Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
The Trading Card Database

In some cases, the first and last cards listed above are subjective and chosen by me if multiple cards were released within the same year.  Most recent mainstream card may also be subjective and does not include extremely low serial numbered cards, buybacks or cut autograph cards.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like either a pick off attempt, or a line drive to 3b.