Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Paul Casanova (#115)

Paul Casanova played 7 seasons with the Senators (1965-71) and 3 with the Braves (1972-74).

Casanova’s career had a rocky start. He was signed by the Indians in 1960 but released in June of that year. They signed him again in December but was released AGAIN in April 1961. (To prove it wasn’t just the Indians, the Cubs signed him in September 1961 and also release him the following April.)

For a while in 1961, he played for the Indianapolis Clowns, an independent team that was formerly in the Negro Leagues.

FINALLY, Paul hooked on with the Senators just after the 1962 season, AND THEY DIDN’T RELEASE HIM MONTHS LATER! In fact, he went on to be their starting catcher for several seasons.

After 3 seasons in their farm system, Casanova made his major-league debut with the Senators in September 1965 (5 games).
Paul was the team’s primary starting catcher from 1966 to 1970. He caught the lion’s share of games in ’66, ’67, and ’69, and just over half the games in ’68 and ’70 (with Jim French the #2 backstop in both seasons). Casanova also made his only All-Star team in 1967.

1971 was Paul’s last season in Washington. He started 81 games behind the plate, but rookie Dick Billings was gradually taking over, starting 61 games (mostly in the second half).

After the ’71 season, Casanova was traded to the Braves for catcher Hal King. Paul backed up Earl Williams in 1972, then split the starting assignments with Johnny Oates in 1973. In his final season (1974) Casanova was the #3 catcher behind Oates and rookie Vic Correll, and did not make a start after August 9th, as Correll assumes the bulk of the catching over the season’s final months.

He was released by the Braves in March 1975, ending his 10-year career.

Casanova passed away in August 2017 at age 75.

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