Card: 1991 Team Issued Orioles Crown #350
John Paul Papa (born December 5, 1940 in Bridgeport, CT) is an American former professional baseball player. Papa, a right-handed pitcher, appeared in three Major League games, all in relief, for the Baltimore Orioles in 1961–1962, and spent the remainder of his career (8 seasons) in minor league baseball. He attended the University of Bridgeport and the University of New Haven.
He was a highly touted high school pitcher from Connecticut and Pat Jordan's main rival as the best player from the state in 1958 when he signed with the Baltimore Orioles. He threw hard but was very wild. Sent to the Baltimore farm system, Papa hurt his arm in his third pro season, trying to throw the slider in Class B. Despite the injury, he made the Baltimore opening-season 28-man roster in 1961 at the age of 20.
He made his major league debut on April 11, 1961, pitching in relief of Milt Pappas against the Los Angeles Angels. The game was Opening Day for the Orioles, and the first American League game in the history of the Los Angeles Angels franchise.
The Orioles were already down 4-0 in the 2nd inning and the Angels had two men on with aging slugger Ted Kluszewski coming up. As Jordan tells it in his memoir A False Spring, manager Hank Bauer told the youngster that Kluszewski could no longer get around on the fastball, so that's all he should throw him. Papa threw a couple of pitches by him, then tried to fool him with a change-up, which the big man propelled into the upper deck for a three-run homer. He later stated that the ball Kluszewski hit for a home run happened when Papa "got the ball down, where I didn't want it".
Papa would make only one more appearance before being sent down to the minors, and returned for a single game at the end of the 1962 season. His career ERA was 22.50 in those three games. After baseball, he was elected as an alderman in Shelton, CT and also served as chairman of the parks and recreation commission there. He worked for Remington Arms, GE and Guard-All Chemical. He earned a degree in business administration.
This player is not associated with any Baseball Amore Tours.
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