Despite having pitched in the major leagues for six seasons (1951, 1954-57 Boston/Milwaukee Braves, 1958 St. Louis Cardinals) in the midst of the Topps-Bowman bubblegum card wars, Paine appeared in only one mainstream card set, 1958 Topps. He is also found in the 1954 and 1955 Johnston Cookies Braves regional issues.
As is my wont, rather than taking a lot of time rehashing Paine's career, I'll refer you to an online article by Nelson "Chip" Greene from the Society for American Baseball Research's player biography project:
Just a couple of things that struck me . . .
- Phil Paine's unusual name is the result of his first name being that of his father's best friend; his middle name, Steere, is an old Rhode Island colonial family name.
- Many sources, including Greene, cite Paine as having been the first major leaguer to play in Japan's major leagues. Fellow SABR biographer Greg Erion, however, refutes that, saying that Leo Kiely was actually the first. According to Erion, Kiely debuted on Aug. 8, 1953, for the Mainichi Orions of Japan's Pacific League. Paine, he says, didn't pitch for the Nishitetsu Lions until Aug. 23.
- The back of Paine's 1958 Topps card mentions that he was "traded during the last off-season" by the Braves to the Cubs. I can find no mention of that in various baseball references. On April 19, 1958, the Cardinals (with whom he is pictured on his 1958 Topps card) selected Paine off waivers from the Braves.
- Paine almost returned to the Japanese professional leagues for 1959. He had toured Japan with the St. Louis Cardinals after the 1958 season. On Dec. 4, he was traded to the Dodgers with Wally Moon for Gino Cimoli. Los Angeles assigned him to their Spokane farm for '59 so Paine opted to sign with the Kintetsu Pearls for what he said was twice what he'd make in the U.S.
- Paine never started a game in the major leagues. He does, however, have an enviable won-loss record of 10-1 in 95 games, a .909 win percentage. The acknowledged major league leader in that stat is Al Spalding's .795; among modern (career entirely post WWII) pitchers, Whitey Ford leads with .690. In his 11 seasons in the minor leagues, Paine's record was 75-63 with a 3.71 ERA.
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