Tom Pagnozzi is 49 years old today. When I think about Pagnozzi, I think about my early 20s, living alone, playing Pursue the Pennant and being terrified of sending any of my baserunners when he was catching. He consistenly had a -3 arm which was able to negate a lot of the speed demons. He won 3 gold gloves with the Cardinals in the early 1990s and he played in the 1992 all-star game. He played 12 Major League seasons, all with the St. Louis Cardinals. Pagnozzi was called up from AAA Louisville in 1987 when Tony Pena went on the disabled list and his first at bat was against the Pirates Don Robinson after coming in as a defensive replacement for Steve Lake.
He was not that much of an offensive threat, finishing with an OPS of 658, 44 homers and an OBP of .299. He hit 13 homers in 1996 but otherwise, never managed more than 7 and he never reached 500 at bats. It is apparent that his value to the Cardinals was not offensive as he spent the first four years of his career as a backup and it wasn't until 1991 that he became the starting catcher and he was the on and off starter until 1996. He battled injuries in 1997 and was released after the 1998 season. He reluctantly retired in 1999 with a bad arm.
His nephew, Matt Pagnozzi, has played bits of 3 seasons in the Majors between 2009 and 2011. Since his retirement, Tom Pagnozzi has been an assistant coach with his alma mater, the Arkansas Razorbacks and he is also heavily been involved with charities with Pagnozzi Charities.