Saturday, March 6, 2021

Barrier Breakers: 1954 Carlos Paula - Washington Senators

Carlos Paula was the first Black player on the Senators.  Born in Cuba, he was signed by Washington and invited to spring training.  Although he was praised for his arm, his speed and his hitting, manager Bucky Harris thought he had a "hitch in his swing" and needed more time in the minors.  He batted .309 with 14 homers for the Charlette Hornets and the Senators promoted him on September 6th, 1954. In 1955 he was their everyday right fielder hitting .299. 

Although Paula was the first black player on the Senators, there were 24 other Cuban players on the team between 1935 and 1954. In 1955 three more black players joined the roster in DC. Two were Cubans, Juan Delis and Julio Becquer, and one was Panamanian, "Webbo" Clarke. It wasn't until 1957 when the Senators signed the 1952 Rookie of the Year, Joe Black, that a US born African American joined the team.  (I made this 1957 Joe Black card nearly ten years ago for this blog.)

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