Jul 24, 2015

Former Italian / American Player & The Sausage King of Georgia: Biff Pocoroba (1975-1984)

Biff Benedict Pocoroba was born on July 25, 1953 in Burbank, California. To everyone's surprise, his actual name on his birth certificate is Biff.

The five foot ten inch catcher, was signed in the seventeenth round of the 1971 amateur draft by the Atlanta Braves.

In 1975 he began to get some attention when he threw out eleven straight would be base stealers during Braves Spring Training.

He made the Braves squad that year, backing up catcherVic Correl who only hit .215. Pocoroba would see action in 67 games, batting .255 with 7 doubles 1 HR & 22 RBIs. Defensively he had a rougher time than in Spring Training, throwing out only 17% of base stealers while getting charged with 13 passed balls.

His defense got better as he went along, throwing out 34% of the base runners attempting to steal the next two seasons. By 1977 he was the Braves main catcher, batting .290 with 24 doubles, 8 HRs & 44 RBIs. In May he hit a walk off grand slam HR to beat the Montreal Expos at Fulton County Stadium.

All Star: He had a good start in 1978 and represented the lowly Braves in that years All Star Game, catching the whole 9th inning as a defensive replacement. He didn’t get an at bat, but caught the final out of the game from teammate Phil Niekro. The main reason Pocoroba was added to the roster by NL Manager Tommy Lasorda was to handle Niekro's famous knuckle ball. He finished the year batting only .242, with 6 HRs & 34 RBIs.

Biff’s 1978 baseball card was always one of my favorites, he looks like real old time catcher, a cheek full of tobacco squinting into the sun, as he adjusts his catcher’s mask to go over his cap. Like many catchers of the era, Biff didn’t wear a batting helmet under his mask, as it hadn’t become a rule yet. That card also features the classic blue Braves uniform with that red, white & blue feather on the sleeve.

In 1979 Pocoroba batted .316 playing in just 28 games. He injured himself & needed rotator cuff surgery which ruined any chances of him being a top player. He stayed with the Braves for six more seasons as a backup catcher & third baseman.

He retired in 1984 after only four games at the young age of 30. In his ten year career he batted .257 with 374 hits 21 HRs 71 doubles 172 RBIs & a .339 on base %. Defensively he threw out 34% of would be base stealers, posting a .982 fielding %.

Retirement: In 1988 he & his brothers, started the Detailed Sausage World Inc. Company in Lilburn Georgia. For the past twenty five years his business has been a huge success, raking in over a half a million dollars a year while only employing five people.

Pocoroba serves as the President of the company known as Sausage World Inc, that makes every kind of sausage from sweet basil Italian sausage, links of pepperoni, bratwurst, knockwurst, kielbasa, & Andouille.

1 comment:

blogger said...

Best sausages I ever ate and a nice guy running the company. I wish I still lived in Atlanta! Steve Middleton