Catalanotto with the Milwaukee Brewers
|Left fielder / Infielder|
April 27, 1974 |
Smithtown, New York
|September 3, 1997, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 10, 2010, for the New York Mets|
|Runs batted in||457|
Frank John Catalanotto (pronounced Ca-ta-la-not-toe) (born April 27, 1974) is a former professional baseball player. Nicknamed "Little Cat", the Long Island native batted left-handed and threw right-handed. In his career, Catalanotto has played all infield and outfield positions except shortstop and center field.
Detroit Tigers (1997–1999)
Catalanotto began his professional baseball career in 1992 when the Detroit Tigers—who first noticed him while scouting higher-profile players at a Smithtown East baseball game in 1991—drafted him in the tenth round of the 1992 Major League Baseball draft. Primarily a second baseman in the minors, he made his major league debut at second base on September 3, 1997. While in Detroit, Catalanotto battled injuries and a lack of playing time, and never recorded a season of 300 at bats for the Tigers. Detroit general manager Randy Smith chose not to protect Catalanotto in the 1996 Rule 5 draft, and he was selected by the Oakland Athletics, spending spring training with them. Catalanotto did not make the Athletics squad and was returned to the Tigers for the 1997 season.
As a reserve, Catalanotto logged significant time not only at second base, but at first base and third base as well. Over his three-year span in Detroit, he was the most often used pinch hitter for the Tigers, leading the American League (AL) in pinch-hit at bats in the 1998 season.
Texas Rangers (2000–2002)
On November 2, 1999, Catalanotto was part of an eight player trade between the Tigers and the Texas Rangers. In the deal, he was dealt to Texas along with pitchers Francisco Cordero and Justin Thompson, catcher Bill Hasselman, and a minor leaguer for slugging outfield star Juan González, catcher Gregg Zaun, and pitcher Danny Patterson.
Catalanotto made a splash to start to his Rangers career, collecting ten hits and three walks in thirteen consecutive plate appearances from April 21 to May 18, 2000. This streak stands as the Rangers franchise record for consecutive appearances reaching base. He also tied the club's record for hits in a single game (five) on May 17.
After another season plagued by injuries in 2000, Catalanotto finally burst onto the scene in 2001 when he finished fifth in the AL in batting average (.330), and recorded a .431 batting average in August. He also logged a number of innings in the outfield, a position he had fielded for only one inning before 2001. Catalanotto battled injuries again in 2002, and the Rangers declined to offer him a contract in the 2003 offseason.
Toronto Blue Jays (2003–2006)
Catalanotto was named AL player of the week after hitting .500 in the last week of the 2005 season helping him finish with an average of .301. He also won the AL player of the week on July 25, 2005.
Texas Rangers (2007–2008)
On November 19, 2006, the Texas Rangers announced that they had reacquired Catalanotto, signing him to a three-year contract worth $13 million.
Catalanotto was released by the Rangers on April 1, 2009.
Milwaukee Brewers (2009)
On May 12, the Milwaukee Brewers signed Catalanotto to a minor league contract. On May 25, his contract was purchased from Triple-A Nashville.
Catalanotto wore the number 20 for the first few games in 2009, until switching to the released Brad Nelson's number 27 on June 1.
New York Mets (2010)
On May 10, 2010, the Mets announced that Catalonotto had been designated for assignment, a move that he felt might signal "the end of [his MLB] career". Chris Carter was brought up from the Buffalo Bisons to fill Catalonotto's roster spot.
Catalanotto retired on March 6, 2011.
Frank and his wife Barbara have four children: Morgan, Camdyn, Karson and Gracyn. Frank's daughter Morgan was born with a vascular birthmark that spread across her face when she was just two weeks old. This is why Frank and his wife Barbara have become honorary chairs for the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation.
His brother Michael is a sports agent and attorney on Long Island.
- "An Interview with Frank Catalanotto". Blue Jays Nation. January 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
- "Catalanotto named AL Player of Week". Toronto.BlueJays.mlb.com. October 10, 2005. Retrieved July 23, 2006.
- "Catalanotto named AL Player of Week". Toronto.BlueJays.mlb.com. July 25, 2005. Retrieved July 23, 2006.
- "Catalanotto comes back to Rangers". mlb.com. November 19, 2006. Retrieved November 19, 2006.
- "Rangers make room for Jones by dumping Catalanotto". Associated Press. April 1, 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2009.
- Obernauer, Michael; Gagne, Matt; Martino, Andy (May 11, 2010). "Frank Catalanotto designated for assignment, Chris Carter called up; Oliver Perez stays in rotation". New York: nydailynews.com. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
- Ex-Tiger Frank Catalanotto retires after 14 seasons