A Couple of Hideous Middle Infielders named Paul

We’re going to start Hideous Ballplayer Week strong. And we’ve got a couple of beauties here that just couldn’t wait another day to make some type of Internet publication.

Meet Paul Runge, who was a no-hit, no-glove middle infielder that took 8 seasons to compile just over what shitty players now do in one full season. In 183 big league games he amassed 80 base hits, 4 of which left the park. In 1987 he muscled up and hit 3 home runs, a career high. He averaged a homer every 9 games that season, a torrid summer in which he hit .215 for the Atlanta Braves, where he spent his entire big league career. He also set his career high in RBI that season, with 8. That counted for nearly a third of his career total (26). He stole 5 bases in 1984, but never stole one again in the rest of his big league career and only attempted two after that season and none before. I mean did he just wake up in 1984 spring training and decide he was gonna be a base theft artist then never again decide to incorporate that into his brutal game? He played with the likes of Ron Gant, John Smoltz, Dale Murphy, and Hall of Famers Gaylord Perry and Phil Niekro. And they probably don’t know who he is if you asked them.

He’s not famous enough for a Wikipedia page.

The next guy, also named Paul and playing a lot of shortstop and second base, is Paul Zuvella. What is amazing is this guy is just as hideous and actually played during the same era, compiled about the same about of stats, and also started his career with the Atlanta Braves. Zuvella also logged time with the New York Yankees (35 games), Cleveland Indians (75 games), and Kansas City Royals (2 innings). He made his major league debut as a pinch runner, and his claim to fame is that he appeared in the movie Ferris Buehler’s Day Off. We’re serious.

His fielding percentage was overall poor (.959) but slightly better then that of Paul Runge (.951). Zuvella homered twice in 1989, and that would be it as far as for balls that left the park off of his little Mickey Mouse bat. A career .222 hittter in 209 big league games and 491 at bats, Zuvella also stole 2 bases without ever being caught stealing. He must have really picked his spots to have that type of success rate. His career year was 1985 when he was allowed to play in 81 games and collect 8 doubles. Zuvella played with Dave Winfield, Doug Drabeck, George Brett, and Todd Benzinger (foreshadowing?).

These guys were so bad it is mesmerizing.

*Huge hat tip to James B. for the nomination

  • Glorious! I think it’s important to touch on what the hideous major leaguer means to us former ballplayers…it provides the great inner tragic debate…hmm, if I didn’t blow out my shoulder, cause permanent damage by playing through a broken wrist, have my vision mysteriously decline in 5 years from 20/15 to 20/250, gain 60 lbs, get coached by 1,000 horrendous coaches…if given the shot, how much worse could I possibly do than Joe McEwing?-Tommy

  • The photos on the cards tell it all…I don’t even want to know where the ball that Zuvella hit in his photo went…the mound…maybe 2nd base? Incredibly, Runge has a “Johnny Ewhart” type stance…for those who don’t know, Johnny was a legendary OWU power hitter.

  • Paul Zuvella chip-shot follow through

  • What’s Zuvella doing w/ the bat, trying to shoo stray cats out of the infield?