Happy Birthday to former Texas Ranger Frank Catalanotto


In one of my favorite movies there’s a scene at the beginning where the good guy reveals his name.

One of the antagonists hears him out, and then says…


(Bonus points if you know the 2014 Movie!)

Thus was my experience whenever I told someone that my favorite baseball player wasn’t Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter or David Ortiz. But rather Frank Catalanotto.

And that was just fine with me. Because like being a fan of “The Cat,” it came without the phony fanfare or the bandwagon supporters.

The former Texas Ranger personified everything in a baseball player that I wanted to be from the first time I picked up a wiffle ball bat at age 5 and learned his unique stance.

Photo Credit: Spokeo Images

He went about his business, he was all about the team, he produced, he was involved in the community, he was…as I said…everything a young kid who just discovered his great love for baseball wanted to admire and be.

Today the New York native from Italian heritage turns 41 years young, and every year I celebrate his birthday as if it were my own. Is that weird? Probably. But the impact Catalanotto had on my life is something I haven’t even come close to forgetting 17 years after first watching him play at The Ballpark in Arlington as a member of the Detroit Tigers.

As fate would have it, his next stop was Texas as a Ranger and he would appear in Rangers red and blue one more time before his career was over.

Perhaps best known as a Toronto Blue Jay, but my most fond memories #27 are from 2000-2002 and 2007-2008.

In 2001, “Cat-Man” hit a robust .330, battling with Ichiro Suzuki (.351) to the latter stage of the season for the American League batting title. I remember taking frequent bathroom breaks in first grade to follow the race from the library computer.

Along with the Rangers and Blue Jays, Catalanotto also played for the Tigers (his first team), as well as the Brewers and the Mets in his final two seasons, capping off an underrated, unheralded 14-year career.

A 10th round pick in 1992, he would post a career batting average of .291, good for 357th in the history of baseball. You don’t fully appreciate that number until you think about just how many players of all different ages and tenure have buckled up and put on the cleats in the 146 year history of Major League Baseball.

Frank Catalanotto never fielded the positions of center field, shortstop, or pitcher/catcher.

He played everything else.

If he had been asked to toss an inning or catch one, field short or man center, there wouldn’t have been a moment’s hesitation.

Because that’s who Frank Catalanotto was. And still is today.

He is the founder of the Frank Catalanotto Foundation, helping to raise money and awareness to help support the Vascular Birthmark Foundationthe owner and co-founder of Proven 4, a very popular sports supplement and oh yeah he’s also a published author.

His baseball playing days are over, but there’s no reason to choose a new favorite player when your first one is still making such a huge impact on the world.

I have a family friend in Miami who wears number 27 because of his favorite player, Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton.

I told him I wore it because of former Texas Ranger Frank Catalanotto.