Paul, Jeff (2010)
With his induction today, Jeff Paul joins Orono High School and University of Maine teammate Ed Hackett (MBHOF ’08) in the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame, and adds another gem to the glittery roster of former Black Bears who made a habit of going to the College World Series in the early 1980’s.
Jeff spent his childhood years in Greenville and caught the baseball bug early on from his father, who himself had starred at Milo High School and Husson College, and his older brother, David. Moving to Orono in the seventh grade, Jeff teamed up with Ed Hackett and, under the tutelage of Coach Dave Ekelund, the duo propelled Orono High School to a Class B state championship in 1978 and followed it up with an American Legion state tournament crown that summer.
Following his graduation from Orono High School in 1980, Jeff entered the University of Maine and, along with classmates Ed Hackett, Billy Swift (MBHOF ’00), Rick Lashua, Steve Lacognata, and Peter Bushway, played for John Winkin-coached teams that made four consecutive appearances in the College World Series in 1981, 1982, 1983, and 1984. During that stretch, Maine finished third in the nation in 1982, beating national powerhouses Stanford and Cal State Fullerton in Omaha.
Paul was a mainstay of that Black Bear golden era, holding down third or second base as the need arose, and hitting .341, .372, and .384 over his sophomore through senior years. He was a three-time All-New England Division I choice over that span, and captained the team his senior year.
In the summer of 1983, Paul tried out for and made the USA Pan American team, joining Billy Swift as the Maine representatives on the team, along with future big leaguers Mark McGwire, B.J. Surhoff, and Cory Snyder. The Pan American team played a series against the Korean and Japanese national teams, won the silver medal at the International Cup in Belgium, and the bronze medal at the Pan Am Games in Caracas, Venezuela. Paul was elected captain of that squad by vote of his teammates.
Jeff was drafted by the Texas Rangers after his senior year and played for the Tri-Cities Triplets of Richland, Washington in the Class A Northwest League that summer, hitting just under .300. Nevertheless, he was released a year later but caught on with the Cleveland Indians organization after a recommendation from old friend Dave Ekelund who was then with the Maine Guides. Following the 1985 season at Class A Waterloo (Iowa) in the Midwest League, Jeff’s professional career ended and he began a new career as teacher and administrator. Jeff taught eleven years in the Yarmouth and Bangor school systems before moving into administrative positions in Pittsfield and North Orrington. He currently lives in Orrington and serves as assistant principal and athletic director at Glenburn Elementary School in Glenburn.