Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Danny Sheaffer

Former Major League catcher Danny Sheaffer turns 50 today. A career platoon catcher, even in the Minor Leagues, Sheaffer was below the radar for most of his career, seeing the most action at Pawtucket, the AAA affiliate of the Red Sox, where he spent  full seasons.

Sheaffer, a contact hitter with occasional power, batted .340 in 265 at bats in 1986 in AAA and a year later, he made his debut early in the 1987 season against the Milwaukee Brewers, going 2/4 in a 12-11 loss. He would end up batting .121 in 66 at bats and wouldn't get back to the Majors until 1989 again when he hit .062.

He became a fixture at AAA over the next 3 years and never gave up on his dream of becoming a permanent major leaguer and at the age of 31, the Colorado Rockies signed him as a Minor League free agent and in the most important spring of his life, he won a job on the inaugural edition of the Colorado Rockies. He would end up batting .278 and for the next 5 seasons, he was a true Major Leaguer following his 11 full seasons in the minors.

None of Sheaffer's stats stand out in either the major leagues or the minor leagues but he was a good catcher and brought veteran leadership, wherever he was.

He stayed in the game until he was 36 (unlike yesterday's birthday boy, Gregg Jefferies, who flamed out at 32) and after one season playing with Memphis, the Cardinals AAA affilliate in the Pacfic Coast League, Sheaffer retired.

Since his retirement, Sheaffer has managed in the minor leagues, including 4 seasons at Memphis between 2003-2006 and has since been a Minor League Catching Instructor for the Houston Astros.

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