Today we get to what is currently the fourth and final card in my 1970 Senators team set. Catcher Paul Casanova appears on card number 84 of the 1970 Topps set. As you can see, this is a well-loved card.
Besides the creases there are a few other things about this card that catch my attention. One is Paul's glove. Looks like he hasn't signed on with Johnny Bench and the hinged mitt yet. The second thing is actually on the back of the card. The comic on the back states that in 1961 Paul played for the Indianapolis Clowns. This would be the same team of Negro Leagues fame. Interesting tidbit. The last point of interest is the name. Casanova has to be one of the most interesting names in Senators history.
In 1970 Paul was the starting catcher for Washington. He appeared in 104 games for the team and spent 774.1 innings behind the plate. In that time he committed six errors in 521 chances for a .988 fielding percentage. That was exactly the league average. Casanova also caught 24 would-be base thieves, 51% of attempts against him. It was a career high percentage. He also posted a career best in passed balls, allowing just two all season. 1970 may well have been Paul's best year behind the plate.
On the offense he was also enjoying one of the top two or three years of his career but the numbers were a bit more of a mixed bag. In 343 plate appearances he posted a .251 on base percentage, down three points from the previous year. His batting average (.229) and slugging percentage (.354) were both up though. He scored one less run (25) than in 1969 and had seven less RBI (30). His doubles were up though, by eight, to 17. He also managed one more triple (3) and two more homers (6) than the previous season.
All in all Paul Casanova was no All-Star. He was solid though and was the best option the Senators had behind the plate in 1970. None of the three other catchers the team used that season seemed to be poised to challenge him for the starting job in the immediate future.