1941-1942, 1946

Paul Campbell was born on September 1, 1917, in Paw Creek, North Carolina. He attended the Hoskins School in Charlotte for eight years, then Paw Creek High School. He studied for two years at Weaver Junior College and Brevard Junior College.

After he led his American Legion team to the North Carolina state championship and the national semifinals in 1934, he was offered a significant bonus to sign with the Red Sox in 1934, less than a week before he turned 17 years old. He said he wanted to further his education first and it was agreed that he would go back to Brevard Junior College and then report to the Red Sox in the spring of 1935, at which time he would sign.

The Red Sox sent him to Danville, Virginia, in the Bi-State League in 1935, but he couldn’t stick, was released and played semipro ball the rest of that year. He signed again with Rocky Mount in Piedmont League and was sent to Danville again in 1936 and 1937. His 1938 season was with the Little Rock Travelers in the Class-A1 Southern Association.

Paul trained with the Red Sox in spring training in 1939, and climbed another rung on the organizational ladder, assigned to the Double-A Louisville Colonels. He was voted MVP on the Colonels as they won the Little World Series over Rochester of the International League.

In 1941 he started the season with the Red Sox, pinch-running in the one game but then being promptly assigned to Montreal.  In 1942, the United States had declared war on Japan and some of the Sox had already left for military service. Paul approached manager Joe Cronin, at the start of spring training, and asked for permission to work out in the outfield as well as at first base and made the team through sheer determination and hustle. He not only made the team, but was with the Red Sox all year long. But he never played first base and never had more than one plate appearance in a game. 

Paul might have had more opportunity to play in 1943, with so many players leaving for wartime duty, except that he was among the ones called. He was inducted into the U. S. Army in January 1943, at Camp Croft, South Carolina. He served with the Army Air Force at Morris Field, North Carolina, where he trained with the supply division. He was transferred to Jacksonville Army Air Base, Florida, in April, and was sent overseas to Thurleigh airfield in England with the 306th Bomb Group shortly afterwards.

Technical Sergeant Campbell also played baseball while in the service. He was the hitting star with the 306th ‘Reich Wreckers’ team and played in the all-professional game at London in August 1943. Following this game the Eighth Air Force team toured US military camps all over England. He also played for the ‘Greys’ in the UK All-Star game held at Stamford Bridge Stadium in London in June 1945.

Paul was mustered out of the Army in February, 1946, reported to the Red Sox at spring training and made the team. It’s hard to say he was in integral part of the Red Sox winning the pennant in 1946 because he only hit .115, scored three times, and had zero runs batted in.

In January 1947 the Red Sox released Paul outright to the Louisville Colonels again. He had a good season for Louisville, and was again MVP on the team.  In October, the Colonels sold his contract to the Detroit Tigers.

He finally got a chance to play on a more regular basis in the big leagues and played in 59 games for the 1948 Tigers and 87 games in 1949. In 1950, he pinch-ran in two games and pinch-hit in a third, with his last major-league game being in May. When cut-down time came, his contract was sold to the Toledo Mud Hens. 

In January 1952, he was named player-manager of the Class-A Eastern League’s Williamsport Tigers. It was his last full season as a player. 

His work was regarded highly enough that Detroit asked him to manage their Double-A club in Little Rock in 1953. He was the first of two managers for the Piedmont League team in Hagerstown in 1954.

On November 27, 1956, Paul became a general manager, running the Louisville Colonels. At the end of October 1958, he resigned and became a scout for the Cincinnati Reds.

Thus began a long-term relationship with the Reds, scouting and becoming traveling secretary from 1964. He worked through the whole “Big Red Machine” years, retiring after the 1977 season. Just a few months after retiring, he signed on with the Cincinnati, as a scout covering Eastern Tennessee. He remained with the Reds as a scouting consultant until 1994.

Paul Campbell passed away at age 88, on June 22, 2006, at the Sardis Oaks Nursing Home in Charlotte.