Nov 9, 2014

Italian / American Uncle & Nephew Catchers: Matt & Tom Pagnozzi

Matthew Thomas Pagnozzi was born on November 10th 1982 in Miami, Arizona. Matt is the nephew of former St. Louis Cardinal catcher; Tom Pagnozzi. He learned the family trait & the six foot two catcher attended Central Arizona College playing the position.

In 2003 he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals & spent seven seasons in the minors before getting to the big league club. He made brief appearances with St. Louis in 2009 & 2010. In 2010 he got 39 at bats, drove in ten runs, while hitting his only career HR on September 28th, coming against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 7-2 loss.

In 2011 he signed with the Colorado Rockies but was placed on waivers that September, where he was picked up by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He hit .276 overall in 12 games that year. He would sign deals with the Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves & Houston Astros, getting into five games with Houston in 2013.

He signed on with the Milwaukee Brewers that off season &  most of spent 2014 at AAA Nashville batting .215 playing at catcher & DH. He got into one game at the major league level with Milwaukee playing in just one inning. He was released in early October 2014.

In his fie year career he is hitting .272 with 25 hits, one HR & 13 RBIs in 43 games played. In 36 games at catcher he posted a .989 fielding% throwing out 24% of base stealers.
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Thomas Alan Pagnozzi was born July 30, 1962 in Tucson, Arizona.

The six foot right hand hitter, attended the University of Arkansas where he helped lead the Razorbacks to the NCAA finals with his 50 RBIs.

Pagnozzi played both catcher & third baseman, getting drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 8th round of the 1983 draft.

By 1987, he was batting batting .313 with 14 HRs & 71 RBIs at AAA Louisville & was brought up to the Cardinals. He got into 27 games for the NL Champion Cards, hitting .188 with two HRs nine RBIs & eight runs scored. 


He was eligible for the post season roster & saw action in three post season games, getting one hit in the Cards World Series loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Pagnozzi was mostly the backup catcher to Tony Pena (1987-1989) & then Todd Ziele (1990) under Whitey Herzog’s final years as manager in St. Louis. When Joe Torre arrived at the helm full time in 1991, he convinced Ziele to move from the catchers position, & have Pagnozzi take it over. 

The two reasons being; Pagnozzi was better defensively & Ziele's hitting would be in the line up every day as a position player.

At catcher; Pagnozzi would win three Gold Gloves (1990, 1992, & 1994) leading the league in fielding percentage twice (1992 & 1994). He threw out 70 runners trying to steal in 1991, leading the league with that number. 

In 1994 he threw out 50% of runners trying to steal & led all catchers in that category. He threw out 45% or more runners trying to steal in four separate seasons. In 1992, he committed just one error all season, tying a National League record with a .999 fielding mark. At bat didn’t hit for much power, hitting a career high 13 HRs in 1996. That year he hit .270 with 55 RBIs, helping to lead the Cards to the post season.

Post Season: In the NLDS he drove in a run in each of the final two wins over the San Diego Padres. In the NLCS loss to the Atlanta Braves, he went just 3-20 (.158).

Overall in his career, Pagnozzi would bat over .270 four times, with a career high .282 in 1988 in just 81 games. He drove in over 40 runs five times & had two fifty plus RBI seasons, making one All Star Team (1992), getting to two post seasons (one World Series).

He would play 12 seasons in St. Louis batting .253 with 733 hits 44 HRs 153 doubles 320 RBIs & a .299 on base %. Behind the plate he posted a .992 fielding %, throwing out 37% of would be base stealers, making only 38 errors in 827 games. He also played 40 career games at first base & seven games at third base.

Retirement: During Christmas week of 2008 he was involved in a serious vehicle accident, when his truck hit a patch of ice.

His vehicle flipped over multiple times. One passenger was seriously injured but Pagnozzi & Cardinals farmhand Casey Rowlett escaped with just minor injuries.

He moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas actively serving the community in youth baseball though Pagnozzi charities.

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