Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jim Pagliaroni (#586)

Jim Pagliaroni was signed by the Red Sox in 1955 as a bonus baby. A 1952 rule stipulated that a player receiving a bonus of more than a $4000 must remain on the major-league roster for 2 seasons. That year, he played no minor-league ball, but appeared in 1 game for the Red Sox (on August 13th). Jim was one of 15 players in the 1950s to make their major-league debut at age 17. (Some others were Joey Jay, Claude Osteen, Mike McCormick, and Tim McCarver.)

Since he was required to be on the major-league roster for another full season, the Red Sox talked him into enlisting in military service for 2 years, so he could get it "out of the way" during a time when he wouldn't be playing much anyway.

He played for various minor-league teams from 1958 to 1960, and played in 28 games with the Red Sox in 1960, starting 15 games behind the plate. In 1961 he was the #1 catcher, making almost twice as many starts as Russ Nixon, who was 1960's primary catcher.

In 1962, he split the starting catcher's job evenly with rookie Bob Tillman. After the season, Jim was traded to the Pirates with pitcher Don Schwall for pitcher Jack Lamabe and first baseman Dick Stuart.

Jim played 5 seasons with the Pirates, and was the #1 catcher for the first 4 seasons. Injuries limited his playing time in 1967. Following the 1967 season, he was sold to the Athletics, where at age 30, he shared the starting catcher's job with 22-year-old Dave Duncan.

In May 1969, Pagliaroni was sold to the Seattle Pilots, where he finished his career before getting his release after the season. He was used mostly as a pinch-hitter, but also as the 2nd-string catcher behind Jerry McNertney.

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