Well, we've moved past Friday the 13th and all the usual triskaidekaphobia stories and wisecracks, but we're still stuck on the #13 here in Baseball's Hall of Names ...
In fact, as we contine to build up a Hall of Names roster for each of the 25 most-common male names in North America, we move to the 13th most common of those names, the name of a man who wrote some pretty famous letters (epistles, even); and on the baseball diamond, the name of another man they dubbed "Big Poison."
And with a nod to the former of those two, we can even give this team the name of a "real" professional (independent league, anyway) baseball team, as it's time to meet ...
The St. Paul Saints
Playing in a stadium built on the coastline of "The Pauly Shore" maybe?
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
MGR: Paul Richards (923-901, 1951-54 CHW, '55-'61 BAL, 1976 CHW)
Bench Coach: Paul Owens (161-158, 1972, 1983-84; won '83 NL pennant with PHI)
C Paul Lo Duca* (.290 through 2006)
1B Paul Konerko* (.283, 245 homers through 2006)
2B Paul Popovich (.233, 1964-75)
SS Paul Runge (.232, 1981-88)
3B Paul Schaal (.244, 1964-74)
LF Paul Waner** (.333, 3152 hits in 20 years)
CF Paul Blair* (.250, 171 SB, eight Gold Gloves in 17 years)
RF Paul O'Neill* (.288, 281 homers in 17 years)
DH Paul Molitor** (.306, 3319 hits in 21 years)
C Paul Casanova* (.225, 1965-74)
OF Paul Householder (.236, 1980-87)
OF Paul Easterling (.275 in 76 games, 1928, '30, '38)
1B/DH Paul Sorrento (.257, 166 homers, 1989-99)
1B/OF Paul Leslie Smith (.270, 1953, '57-58)
IF Paul Zuvella (.222, 1982-91)
RHSP Paul "Dizzy" Trout* (170-161 in 15 years)
LHSP Paul Splittorff (166-143, 1970-84 KCR; 20-11 in 1973)
RHSP Paul Byrd* (82-73 through 2006)
RHSP Paul "Daffy" Dean (50-34 in nine years)
RHSP Paul Foytack (86-87, 1953-64)
RHRP Paul Shuey (45-27, 22 saves, 1994-2003)
LHRP Paul Assenmacher (61-44, 56 saves, 1986-99)
RHRP Paul Quantrill* (68-78, 21 saves, 1992-2205)
LHRP Paul Lindblad (68-63, 64 saves, 1965-78)
LHRP Paul LaPalme (24-45, 14 saves, 1951-57)
Are You A-Paul-ed Yet? ... Among those not eligible for the team are a couple of catchers separated by a century, in 19th century backstop Lou Paul and mostly-21st-century backstop Josh Paul ... Also ineligible are former RHRP Mike Paul and a variety of others like Carlos Paula, Gene Paulette, David Pauley, Ronny Paulino and Gil Paulsen ...
You could start to build a pretty nice team of middle-named Paul players, though; just behind the plate you have a catcher/manager platoon in Joseph Paul Torre and Robert Paul Melvin ... You want an outfield? How about a Hall of Famer and two other All-Stars in Dominic Paul, Joseph Paul and Vincent Paul DiMaggio? ... Now, who plays center? ... The left side of the infield could feature All-Stars like SS Richard Paul Burleson and 3B Morgan Paul Ensberg ...
That's another Hall of Famer in James Paul David Bunning on the hill, with All-Star closer Ricky Paul Bottalico waiting in the bullpen, along with former Jay righty Mauro Paul Gozzo and current Jay righty Brandon Paul League ... If Bunning can't go, there's an All-Star in Paul Derringer ready to take the ball -- but wait, you say, shouldn't Derringer be on the first team? Nope, that's Samuel Paul Derringer, even though he had the good tasts to go by his middle name ... Looking for an opening ceremony that involves prayer? Well, the 1960s blessed us with a papal soundalike in RHRP John Paul Papa, recognized previously here on our All-Pope team ...
More than 650 men have managed in the big leagues, from Bill Adair to Don Zimmer -- and yet, despite the relative popularity of the name in the general population, only two Pauls have take the rein of a major league team ... The statistical oddity both men, Owens and Richard, share, is that each had a gap of more than decade in his managing resume before taking on one final tour ... Owens at least took PHI to a World Series, while Richards' best finishes were one 2nd and four 3rds in his 12-year run ...
That's right, we have both a Dizzy and a Daffy in our rotation, but the former isn't a Dean, and the latter, while a Dean, never recovered from arm troubles after posting back-to-back 19-wins seasons his first two years in the bigs, before he even turned 22, then won just 12 more before exiting the game at 29 ... RHSP Paul Abbott was 17-4 in the rotation of the 2001 Mariners, but just 26-33 otherwise and doesn't make the team ... Splittorf, the only lefty in the rotation, had 10 double-digit win seasons in the span of 1973-84, including one 20-win campaign and 50 wins from 1977-79 ...
Though there's just the one lefty in the rotation, we have three in the bullpen and plenty of other options around to boot -- "relief pitcher" appears to be a fairly popular career path for Pauls, including lefties like Kilgus (later part of the Texas Ranger package that netted both Jamie Moyer and the young Rafael Palmeiro), Spoljaric, Gibson and Mirabella ... On the other side, righty relievers included "The Other" Reuschel and Carter while rotation options presented Hartzell, Erickson, Mitchell, Moskau, Wagner and Wilson among others ... Then there's RHRP Paul Schreiber, who had a real WWII arc to his big league career, appearing in 10 games with the 1922-23 Dodgers (at the ages of 19 and 20) then two more with the 1945 Yankees at the age of 42 ... Not to mention LHRP/OF Paul Strand, who was 7-3 for the 1913-15 Braves then hit .228 in a comeback as an OF with the 1924 A's ...
Zuvella and Runge are basically the only two legitimate options for a Paul to play shortstop, and they were actually teammates with the 1982-85 Braves ... Zuvella lasted just a hair longer in the majors, but Runge's career batting average was a bit better and he hit twice as many career homers (4-2!) so he gets the starting nod ... There have been two Paul Smiths to make the big leagues -- which middle name would you rather have, that of Paul Stoner Smith or that of Paul Leslie Smith? ... The latter of the two at least makes the Saints' bench ... Richards hit .227 from 1932-35 and '43-46 in another WWII-dictated career path, but Casanova will be the backup catcher so the skipper can focus on the job of managing ...