It appears AMC has a hit in “Better Call Saul,” the prequel series to “Breaking Bad” that premiered earlier this month. This prompted me to wonder how many men named Saul played professional baseball, and, of course, whether any of them played in the Midwest League.
Only two men named Saul ever played in the major leagues — Saul Rogovin, who pitched for four teams over eight seasons, and Saul Rivera, who pitched in parts of five MLB seasons, mostly for the Washington Nationals.
Rogovin led the American League with a 2.78 ERA in 1951, a season he split between the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox. He never played in the Midwest League, but Rivera did in 1999.
Rivera was impressive in his 60 appearances for the Quad City River Bandits (a Minnesota Twins affiliate at that time), going 4-1 with a 1.42 ERA, 23 saves, 102 strikeouts and 36 walks in 69.2 innings. He gave up only 11 earned runs and finished 54 games.
In addition to Rogovin and Rivera, 26 men with the first name Saul played in the minor leagues. Only one is still active in affiliated baseball: 19-year-old RHP Saul Martinez, who pitched two innings for the Houston Astros in the Dominican Summer League last year. It is possible he eventually will become the next Saul to pitch for the River Bandits, because the team is now affiliated with the Astros.