Frank Catalanotto, a 14-year MLB veteran from Smithtown, was a guest on this week’s Newsday High School Sports Podcast with Gregg Sarra. Catalanotto, was a .291 career hitter with the Tigers, Rangers, Blue Jays, Brewers and Mets. Nicknamed “Cat,” he talks about the toughest pitchers he faced in his career and the difficult transition from high school to the professional level of baseball.
Below is a sampling of what he talked about.
How important was it to have a high school coach that set the foundation for your career?
Catalanotto: “I thought my high school coach Al Chandler had a great impact on the team and in my life. I was lucky to have such a man who basically cared about every player on the roster.”
How hard were the first few years in pro baseball, transitioning to wood bats, all the long bus trips, dirty hotel rooms and the food?
Catalanotto: “I wasn’t prepared for all that would change in my life and that it was not easy.”
How hard was it to go pro and not go to college — a very tough decision for some?
Catalanotto: “I was focused on attending Seton Hall and the Tigers drafted me in the 10th round and it was an agonizing decision because schooling was so important to me and my family.”
Who was the toughest guy you ever faced in MLB?
Catalanotto: “ It was Pedro Martinez. He gave me a tough time. The thing with Pedro was he had a very good fastball but a great changeup. And he never changed his arm speed.”
Listen to the entire podcast at newsday.com/hspodcast and subscribe to it on iTunes.