Short Time Italian /American Mets Utility Player: Frank Catalanotto (2010)
He was drafted out of Smithtown East high school in the 10th round of the 1992 draft by the Detroit Tigers. The left handed Catalanatto known as the “Little Cat” has played all infield & outfield positions in the major leagues.
He began his career spending three seasons with the Detroit Tigers batting a best .276 in 1999 playing in 100 games.
In 1999 he was traded to the Texas Rangers as a player in the Juan Gonzales trade. He started out the season with a bang. In his first 13 plate appearances Catalanotto collected ten hits & drew three walks, setting a franchise record.
He set another Rangers record in May, getting five hits in a single game. He then went on to hit .291 with 10 HRs 13 doubles & 42 RBIs in 103 games that season. His good hitting got him into 133 games in 2001, and he responded by hitting .330 (5th best in the AL).
He put up 31 doubles, with 11 HRs & 54 RBIs. In 2002 Injuries plagued him to only 68 games, as his average dropped to .268 & the Rangers declined to sign him.
He moved on to the Toronto Blue Jays (2003-2006)& had another good season batting .299 setting career highs in HRs (13) & RBIs (59) in 133 games. The next year he set a Blue Jays hit record, getting six hits going 6-6 in the second game of a double header against the Chicago White Sox.
He hit over .290 again, but injuries limited him to just 75 games. He bounced back to hit over .300 the next two seasons, winning two Player of the Week Awards in 2005 and matched his career high RBI total (59) in 2003.
He signed with Texas again in 2007 & his average fell to .260. He hit .274 in 2008 then went to Milwaukee & batted .276 last season. He was signed by the New York Mets for 2010 & made the team out of Spring Training, although he was considered a long shot.
Catalanotto was happy to come home & play for the hometown Mets as a utility player. He appeared in 25 games, often used as a pinch hitter but overall was just 4-25 (.160).
On April 16th he had an RBI pinch hit single, in a 4-3 loss to the Cardinals at St. Louis, batting for Jennry Mejia. On May 10th he was released finishing his 14 year baseball career.
Overall he batted .291 lifetime with 1113 hits 262 doubles 37 triples 84 HRs 457 RBIs & a .357 on base %.
In the outfield his career .992 fielding % puts him with many in the top twenty of all time. He also had 25 career assists as an outfielder & turned 54 double plays as a second baseman.
Family: Frank has four children, his daughter Morgan was born with a Vascular Birthmark on her face. He and his wife Barbara have become honorary chairpersons for the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation.
He is also active in Little League programs on Long Island as well. His brother is an attorney & sports agent also on Long Island.
WBC: In 2006 & 2009 Frank played on the Italian National team in the World Baseball Classic. In 2013 & 2017 Catalanotto served as a coach on Team Italy in the WBC. In 2013 he coached alongside Mike Piazza & in 2017 he enjoyed coaching two Mets players; Brandon Nimmo & Gavin Cecchini.