Glancing Back, and Remembering Jose Pagan
Jose Pagan spent 15 years in the National League, primarily at shortstop, primarily because of his defensive prowess. The Puerto Rican-born Pagan was also a flexible asset to a major league roster, as at some point in his career he played every position except pitcher.
Pagan was signed by the New York Giants in 1955 and played 49 games with San Francisco in 1959 and 1960. He made the big leagues to stay in 1961 as the Giants’ starting shortstop. He batted .253 that season with five home runs and 46 RBIs.
When the Giants won the National League pennant in 1962, Pagan was a major contributor not only with his solid fielding but also with what would be the best overall hitting of his career. Pagan batted .259 in 1962 with 25 doubles, seven home runs and 57 RBIs. He also scored a career-best 73 runs that season.
From 1961 through 1964, as the Giants’ starting shortstop, Pagan batted .244 while averaging 48 runs scored and 42 runs batted in per season.
In May of 1965 he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Dick Schofield. Gene Alley had a lock on the shortstop position in Pittsburgh, so Pagan spent the next eight seasons as a valuable utility player, fielding all the infield positions and occasionally roaming the outfield (and even catching for one inning) during his tour with the Pirates. He batted a combined .263 with Pittsburgh, hitting a career-best .289 in 1967.
Pagan was released by the Pirates after the 1972 season and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. He batted .205 in 46 games in 1973, and retired after that season.
In 15 seasons, Pagan collected 922 hits for a .250 career batting average.