Getting to know ’63 Ports alum Paul Studstill
On May 18, the Ports will be hosting a special alumni night featuring members of the 1963 California League Championship Ports team. Each week, we have the opportunity to speak to members of the ’63 team. In this edition of Docking with the Ports, we had the chance to catch up with 1963 Ports alum Paul Studstill.
Name: Paul Studstill
Nickname: Harry Dunlop called me Gabby. I didn’t tend to talk too much unless I had to or wanted to. I think he came up with it.
Position: 3rd base
Birthplace: Safety Harbor, FL
Date of birth: 4/4/36
High school: Brandon High School, Florida
College: University of South Florida for 2 years, and then I got a computer science degree from Tampa Technical after I left baseball.
- What is your favorite memory from your time on the Ports in 1963?
- I was there just briefly because I was released early in the season. I spent the full season with the Ports in 1962. I made the end-of-year all-star team in 1962 and had a pretty good year, so I was invited back under the pretense that if I did well, good things might happen. I was injured with a broken cheekbone in 1962. I was only there for a couple months in 1963.
- What accomplishments from your days with the Ports are you most proud of?
- My developmental accomplishments. Sports are a continued development. I thought I matured to point where I was ready to make progress. It was disappointing to not be able to continue. Stockton was a good town. Harry was the manager I needed at that time.
- What favorite memory do you have about your 1963 teammates?
- Our manager (Harry Dunlop) was first-class. We were close. Also Bob Olson, I was close to him, as well as our second baseman, Bobby Townsend. It was a good group. It was very enjoyable and that contributes to how well you perform.
- Who was the most memorable character from your 1963 Ports team?
- Lloyd Fourroux and his wife. We got kinda close. Bob Olson and Harry Dunlop, and Bob Townsend… Those are the ones that stand out.
- How involved were you and your teammates in the community?
- Not too much. We were close-knit, but I don’t remember anything specific. We had two sponsors who were very involved. After I got released, they helped me find a job and wanted me to stay. It was a personal thing; it was impressive to me.
- 1963 was a memorable year in American history. Did the current events at the time affect your team at all?
- I don’t know if it affected the ballplayers that much, with the agenda we were following. I don’t think it had a severe impact on the team.
- What was your favorite ballpark in the Cal League to play in?
- I kinda liked San Jose, other than Stockton. Santa Barbara was a pretty town. It was a nice drive down there. I remember San Jose being a pretty park: well-groomed and well taken care of.
- Who was the toughest opponent you faced?
- Reno was tough. That was where I got injured. San Jose was a good competitor. It would have to be between the two of them.
- What was Stockton like when you were with the Ports in 1963?
- It was a friendly town. My wife and I enjoyed it when she was there with me. It was diverse, with the park downtown. It was similar to a couple towns here in Florida. People took care of the homeless. I thought it had a variety of things to do and I enjoyed it. My wife even wanted to stay there! It was a well put together town.
- During your time with Stockton, was there a major league baseball player that you looked up to? Modeled your playing after?
- Some that I played with were Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, and Dave Johnson. I’d always been a Yankee fan, so I kept an eye on Mickey Mantle. He was prevalent in that day. And Ted Williams, those two were my idols at that time. I’ve kept in close contact with Orlando and Dave Johnson.
- Where do you currently reside?
- Brandon, Florida
- What major league team do you currently follow?
- We have the Tampa Bay Rays here. Now I’m a big fan of Josh Hamilton because of his ups and downs. A lot of people try to pull for the underdog. He started in Tampa, became an addict, and turned his life around. The Rays let him go, and this guy went to Cincinnati and the Rangers, and became the MVP. There’s something about the guy that’s kinda like a Tim Tebow thing to me, he’s very faith-based. I’m not super religious. He turned his life around not just for the money, and did real well, just to see that he could do it. You attach yourself to certain people. And Tebow is from Florida so we gotta pull for him.
- My wife is Lillian, and our son is 44 and lives in Colorado and works for Microsoft. He has three girls. We love them to death. That’s our family.
- Did you ever make it back to Stockton after you were finished playing for the Ports?
- No, I never did. When I came back from baseball, I had to go to work. I played local baseball and softball and worked for Continental Can Company, a container company. I played softball, and that was okay. I had sort of a good time. I played with the Clearwater Bombers in 1966 and won the world championship; that was quite an experience. I had quite a few championships between high school and pro baseball, but that was a good one. We came out on top on that one. I stayed active in softball and baseball on the amateur level. It was very taxing but it was enjoyable too.
- Have you followed the Ports at all since you were on the team?
- No, I haven’t. It was a long way away. I should have.
- Do you keep in touch with any of your 1963 teammates? If so, whom?
- Bob Olson, when he was overseas after he retired. We talked for a short time 15 years ago. After I received the list of contact information as part of the reunion, I have talked to them more.
- What are you doing now after baseball?
- I worked with Continental Can and progressed through different jobs, and spent most of my time playing softball and baseball. I obtained an electronic technical degree. I worked with Honeywell in the electronic industry, and between them and another company, spent 23 years. In 10 years I went from a technician in the engineering department to the engineer level. I became a manufacturing engineer, then a lead engineer, and I progressed through their programs. I retired in 2002 and stayed retired for two or three years. Now I’ve been a courier driver for seven years. It’s mainly because of the activity, but the money comes in handy too. All of my various things turned out okay. I didn’t always keep prime rib on the table, but at least hamburger.
- What has been your biggest success in your career following your time with Stockton?
- Being a dad with my three grandkids. They are three toe-heads and pretty girls. That has been very important. Also staying with my wife for 55 years. In the electronic industry, it was my progression from entry level to engineer. There was some luck, some good fortune, and some ability involved in my progression and reaching that point.
- If you could give any piece of advice to current Ports players, what would it be?
- I self taught, and you always have help around, whether it was managers or players you can talk to. Try to continue to improve. What happened to me, I worked on my mechanics and when I found out something was difficult, I knew there’s got to be a simple solution. Before that, I made it hard on myself. I learned the simpler way is better. Don’t do it for show. Work on your mechanics. When you get the mechanics down, you stick with it. It’s a proven thing. I read a book about Sandy Koufax and he did the same thing: he was in the Majors for seven years before he learned how to pitch. He figured out his mechanics and then everything fell into place. I had a good teacher when I was growing up (my father). I played all four sports in high school, and I had him personally helping me and correcting things that went wrong. Pro baseball is an individual thing; you’ve got to help yourself. All that to say, work on your mechanics. And that means leverage; don’t use energy that’s not necessary. When you have to react, you have that to react with. It seems basic, and it really is, but that’s the most important thing.