May 1, 2014

Italian / American Catcher With the Longest Name in MLB History: Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2007-)

Jarrod Scott Saltalamacchia was born May 2, 1985, in West Palm Beach, Florida. The six foot four switch hitting catcher, has earned the nickname “Salty” & goes down in baseball history as having the longest last name (14 letters) of any player in MLB history.

In 2003 he was drafted right out of high school by the Atlanta Braves. In 2006 he was ranked the 18th top prospect in the country, batting .314 with 19 HRs & 81 RBIs at A ball Myrtle Beach. The next season he was ranked at #36 playing at AA Mississippi, batting .373 after just 22 games when he got called up to fill in for an injured Brian McCann in Atlanta.

He debuted in May of 2007 hitting .284 until July 31st when the highly touted rookie was traded to the Texas Rangers as one of the main players in the deal that sent Mark Teixeira to the Braves. On August 22nd, he hit a pair of HRs in the historic 30-3 Texas rout over the Baltimore Orioles. On the season he hit .266 with 11 HRs 13 doubles & 33 RBIs in 93 games between both teams. In 2008 he lost his starting catching job to Gerald Laird & in 61 games batted .253.

In 2009 he hit 9 HRs with 34 RBIs playing in 84 games batting just .233 on the season. In 2010 he injured his shoulder & eventually got traded to the Boston Red Sox, where he was tutored by veteran Jason Varitek. Over that winter he worked hard as he was given the Red Sox main catching job for the 2011 season.

In 103 games he hit 16 HRs with 23 doubles & 56 RBIs. On May 15th Saltalamacchia hit a HR in the Red Sox 7-5 win over the AL New York club. From that week on he hit four HRs & drove in seven runs in the next ten days. In July he drove in 14 runs, & hit another four HRs. On July 24th he had a four RBI day against the Mariners in Seattle. In August he drove in another 12 runs, hitting four HRs with six multi hit games. Defensively for the year, he threw out 31% of would be base stealers, posting a .992 fielding % while leading the league in passed balls (26).

In 2012 Saltalamacchia led the Red Sox in HRs with 25, he batted just .222 with 17 doubles & 59 RBIs in the disappointing Red Sox fifth place season. On April 26th he hit two HRs in a 10-3 win over the Chicago White Sox. He had big five RBI, three hit day on May 13th against the Cleveland Indians. His day was highlighted by a two run HR off Dan Wheeler.

Most of his HRs would come in hot streaks, during a weekend inter league game against the Phillies at Philadelphia he hit two HRs. He would hit six HRs total in the final two weeks of May. In the final two weeks of June he hit four more HRs. In July he hit three HRs from June 21st through the 27th, including a big one to help beat the A.L. New York club 3-2 in a ten inning game at New York. In the last week of August he hit three more HRs, then hit just two more in September.

Behind the plate he threw out just 18% of runners trying to steal & allowed the most stolen bases in the AL with 26. He posted a .992 fielding% in 104 games caught.

In 2013 he was the main catcher for the World Champion Red Sox team, batting .273 with 14 HRs 40 doubles & 65 RBIs. Defensively he caught 119 games (4th in the AL) & allowed the most stolen bases for the second straight season. But he also threw out 24 base runners trying to steal which was second most in the AL.

Post Season: In his first career post season game, he doubled & had two hits with three RBIs in Game #1 of the ALDS against the Tampa Rays.
His big moment came in Game #2 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers, when he had a walk off RBI single off Rick Porcello in the 6-5 Red Sox win. He had two more hits in the Game #4 loss.

He was behind the plate for the final out of the ALCS & caught a leaping Koji Uehara in his arm as the they celebrated the pennant win at Fenway Park.

In the World Series he played in just two games going hitless as Mike Napoli got most of the catching starts.
In the off season he agreed to a $21 million three year deal to play for the Florida, Marlins. He is going from the World Champions to a team that lost 100 games. He is the first free agent to sign with the Marlins since John Buck in 2011. Salty grew up in near by West Palm, Beach Florida.

Personal: Salty is married to his wife Ashley who is fourteen years older than him, together they have three children.

Ashley was a teacher at the high school where Jarrod attended but never taught any of his classes. The two did not begin dating until after Jarrod had graduated & by that time Ashley was a phys ed teacher

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