Paul Calvert

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Paul Leo Emile Calvert

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Biographical Information[edit]

A bespectacled right-hander from Montreal, Paul Calvert first dipped his toes into organized baseball late in 1938 with his hometown team in the International League, the Montreal Royals, although he had played for the Sherbrooke team in the independent Provincial League earlier that year. At the time, he was a student at the École des hautes études commerciales, the Université de Montréal's school of business administration. His father was an English-speaking carpenter and his mother was French-Canadian; he did his schooling in French, but spoke both languages fluently. He was known as an intellectual and was said to look more like a college professor than a pro athlete. He was heavily scouted by major league teams at the time, but was not ready to sign until graduation. He was back with Sherbrooke in 1939, but arm woes ended his season before he could pitch again for Montreal.

Paul signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1940 and pitched in their organization until 1946, making his major league debut in 1942 after pitching well, winning 17 games for the Wilkes-Barre Barons of the Eastern League. He worked out of the Indians bullpen from 1942 until 1945, making 35 appearances in 1944, his only full season with the team. He also pitched winter ball in Cuba and was briefly placed on the ineligible list for playing against some of the players banned from baseball because they had jumped to the Mexican League. He went to Mexico himself in 1947, but managed to gain reintegration in organized baseball in 1948 when he joined the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League in May, only to return to his old Sherbrooke club of the independent Provincial League after four appearances. Playing for fellow former Mexican exile Roland Gladu, he had 11 wins to lead Sherbrooke to the league title. He also had an amazing performance on May 30: not only did he pitch a no-hitter against Saint-Hyacinthe, but he also struck the walkoff single in the 1-0 victory.

He bought back his contract from Toronto and signed with the Washington Senators before the start of the 1949 season. That year, he went 6-17, leading the AL in losses. He won 6 of his first 9 decisions, then lost 14 in a row, the fourth-longest losing streak in American League history (through 2008). Calvert was 2-2 with a 6.31 ERA with the Detroit Tigers in 1950 and in one final game in 1951. He finished 9-22 overall in the major leagues. After being sent down to the minor league Seattle Rainiers in the Pacific Coast League, he threw another no-hitter, against the Sacramento Solons, in his first start for his new team. He went 6-5. 3.51 for Seattle that season, then 3-6. 4.08 in 1952 before deciding to retire despite various offers to continue pitching. He returned to Quebec, where he managed a hotel, and pitched semipro ball in his free time. He made a brief comeback with the Modesto Reds of the California League in 1956, then retired for good, staying in California for a while, working for an accounting firm and as an auditor for the state government.

He returned to Quebec in 1963 and settled in Sherbrooke, QC, where he was employed as a field adjuster for the excise tax division of Revenue Canada. He died on February 1, 1999 at age 81, from a cancer that developed rapidly; he was still playing golf regularly until the age of 80, even after having both of his hips replaced.

Baseball Players of the 1950s

Further Reading[edit]

  • Yves Chartrand: "Paul Calvert", in Gilles Janson, ed.: Dictionnaire des grands oubliés du sport au Québec, 1850-1950, Les éditions du Septentrion, Quebec, QC, 2013, pp. 63-65. ISBN 978-2-89448-725-9
  • Christian Trudeau: "Biographie de Paul Calvert", La Ligue Provinciale 1938 et 1939: Notes de recherche sur le baseball au Québec (in French).

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