Sal Fasano

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Sal Fasano
Sal Fasano 2010.jpg
Fasano as manager for the Lansing Lugnuts, Single-A affiliates of the Blue Jays, in 2010.
Catcher
Born: (1971-08-10) August 10, 1971 (age 42)
Chicago, Illinois
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 3, 1996 for the Kansas City Royals
Last MLB appearance
September 14, 2008 for the Cleveland Indians
Career statistics
Batting average .221
Home runs 47
Runs batted in 140
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Salvatore Frank Fasano (/fəˈsɑːn/; born August 10, 1971) is an American retired Major League Baseball catcher, and currently the Roving Catching Instructor for the Toronto Blue Jays.[1]

Jeff Pearlman of ESPN.com said of Fasano: "When I think of Sal Fasano, however, I think of greatness. Not of Willie Mays or Ted Williams greatness, but of a uniquely excellent human being who, were class and decency the most valued standards of a career, would be the easiest Hall of Fame inductee of all time."[2]

Playing career[edit]

Kansas City Royals[edit]

After three seasons in the minor leagues, the catcher made his major league debut on April 3, 1996 for the Royals. He spent the next three seasons splitting catching duties with starter Mike Macfarlane and rising prospect Mike Sweeney. In 1998, he established career highs in at bats (216) and RBI (31). He also ranked second in the American League in HBPs with 16.

Oakland Athletics[edit]

The Oakland Athletics purchased Fasano's contract from the Royals in March of 2000 and handed him the team's back up duties behind starter Ramon Hernandez. Fasano helped the A's capture the A.L. West division crown that season, and made his, to date, only post season appearance as a defensive replacement. While with Oakland, Fasano says, he came to realize that many players around him were taking anabolic steroids, and briefly considered following suit, but he decided against it.[3] The Royals repurchased his contract the following off-season.

Colorado Rockies[edit]

Fasano's hitting woes continued back in Kansas City, and the Royals swapped back-up catchers with the Colorado Rockies in June 2001, with Brent Mayne heading to the Royals. After an uneventful half season in another reserve role, Fasano and the Rockies cut ties later that autumn.

Baltimore Orioles[edit]

After one at bat with the Anaheim Angels in 2002, Fasano in 2005, his first season back in the majors achieved career highs in home runs (11) and runs scored (25) as a member of the Baltimore Orioles.

Philadelphia Phillies[edit]

Fasano began 2006 for the Philadelphia Phillies as a backup to Mike Lieberthal. His distinctive Fu Manchu mustache earned him the cult admiration of Phillies fans, who began a Phan Phavorites fan club called Sal's Pals. (Subsequently, with all of Sal's Pals having a wife, fiance, or girlfriend, all their partners called themselves Sal's Gals.) Fasano showed his gratitude by buying the group tickets and pizza. Fasano began to see more playing time as Lieberthal got injured, eventually taking over the starting role. His light hitting though cost him his job as rookie backstop Chris Coste emerged in Lieberthal's absence. When Lieberthal returned, there was no spot for Fasano. He was designated for assignment and acquired by the New York Yankees in exchange for minor league infielder Hector Made.

New York Yankees[edit]

One of Fasano's first acts as a Yankee was to trim his facial hair. A well known requirement set forth by owner George Steinbrenner. In August 2006, while working an Angels-Yankees game, Fox commentator Steve Lyons discussed the fact that Fasano had to shave his moustache. Responding to a comment by his fellow Fox sportscaster about how one doesn't want to cross Fasano, Lyons replied:

Well, you know Fasano is the type of guy "who knows a guy that knows a guy.[4]"

He spent the late summer and September as a back-up to Jorge Posada and did not appear in the Yankees four game loss to the Detroit Tigers in the Division Series. On August 19, 2006, Fasano made his first career pinch-running appearance, taking the place of fellow catcher Jorge Posada during a 13-5 win over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. During that game, Fasano nearly picked off Manny Ramirez after blocking the plate and denying the Red Sox another run. He also is known for his low targets that he gives to his pitchers on most pitches.[5]

Toronto Blue Jays[edit]

Fasano agreed to a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays in January 2007, and was invited to major league spring training. On April 26, the Blue Jays purchased Fasano's contract from Triple-A Syracuse of the International League in order to fill a void left by an injury to Gregg Zaun.[6] During this time, he shared catching responsibilities with Jason Phillips. His first at bat as a Blue Jay came against the Texas Rangers on April 28. Following the return of Zaun, the Blue Jays designated Fasano for assignment on June 13 and sent him outright to Syracuse on June 16.

At Syracuse, he hit .413 and earned a surprise callup to the Blue Jays. He had a .178 average with 1 home run and 4 RBI in 16 games during his brief stint as a replacement for the injured Zaun. He finished the season as a member of the Blue Jays 40-man roster and the back-up to Gregg Zaun and Curtis Thigpen.

On March 25, 2008, the Blue Jays released him.

Atlanta Braves[edit]

On April 4, 2008, Fasano signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Braves and was assigned to their Triple-A affiliate, the Richmond Braves. He did not play in a big league game with the Braves.

Cleveland Indians[edit]

On June 19, 2008, Fasano was traded by the Braves to the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later and assigned to the major league team as a backup for Kelly Shoppach with Víctor Martínez on the DL.

Return to Colorado[edit]

Fasano playing for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Triple-A affiliates of the Colorado Rockies, in 2009.

On February 10, 2009, Fasano signed a minor league deal to return to the Rockies. He was also extended an invitation to spring training.

Coaching career[edit]

On November 25, 2009, Fasano returned to the Blue Jays organization, taking a managerial job for their Single-A affiliate, the Lansing Lugnuts. He finished managing Lugnuts with a record of 70-69 (.504).

On November 28, 2010, Fasano accepted the position as the manager of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Double-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

In 2011, Sal Fasano was named Double-A Manager of the Year for leading the New Hampshire Fisher Cats to an Eastern League championship win. During the offseason, Fasano was given the position of Roving Catching Instructor in Player Development. Gary Allenson was named manager of the Fisher Cats.[7]

Personal[edit]

Fasano is the son of Vincent and Nella Fasano, Italian immigrants who settled in the Chicago area. He graduated from Hoffman Estates High School in Illinois and is married to Kerri Kubinski, who was a volleyball player at Evansville.[8] Fasano is a born-again Christian; he was introduced to spirituality by Kansas City teammate Keith Lockhart and credits religion with curtailing his desire to drink. Sal and Kerri have three children. The third, a son named Santo, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and was successfully operated on.[9]

References[edit]

External links[edit]