A Californian walking through Statuary Hall in the Capitol yesterday might have discerned a slight smile crossing the usually stern face on the bronze statue of Father Junipero Serra, one of California's two persons each state is permitted by congressional edict to honor by installing such a statue.

Why would Father Serra smile? Wouldn't you if the team whose name you provided had tied up the World Series, 1-1?

The Spanish word for "father," of course, is "padre." The Spanish-born Serra, with his fellow padres, founded the first Catholic mission in California, San Diego de Alcala', in 1769. The mission is just a couple miles up Mission Valley from the stadium where the two Series games were played, so the name chosen for the team is more appropriate than the hokey ones for many sports teams. The Washington Redskins, for instance.

Father Serra, currently a nominee for sainthood, was a member of the Franciscan order. It's no coincidence that the fifth mission he founded, in 1776, became San Francisco.

P.S. -- California's other statue in the Capitol is also that of a cleric, the Rev. Thomas Starr King, a Unitarian who helped keep the state in the Union in the Civil War. Michigan, home of the Padres' adversaries, the Detroit Tigers, chose to honor two 19th century politicians, Zachariah Chandler and Lewis Cass.