Sal Fasano was born on August 10, 1971, in Chicago, Illinois, during an era when neither of the hometown baseball teams were much to write home about. The Cubs were in the midst of a 39-year playoff drought, and the White Sox had finished a whopping 42 games out of first place in the American League West during the 1970 season.
Nevertheless, young Salvatore Frank Fasano soon caught the diamond bug and distinguished himself as a star hitter and catcher during his prep years at Hoffman Estates High School.
A solid college career followed at the University of Evansville, setting up Fasano for a run in the major leagues that at times seemed unlikely at best.
And, while he never did suit up for either of his hometown teams, Sal Fasano forged a big league career that was the envy of 99.9999% of the baseball-dreaming population.
Here are seven facts about the man that you probably didn’t know!
The Kansas City Royals chose Fasano with the 37th pick out of the University of Evansville in 1993. He began his minor league career right away and also stood out right away: in 49 games with the Low-A Eugene Emeralds, Fasano popped ten home runs. He also collected his first professional triple, which, in retrospect was a moment to relish.
Despite his low draft status, Fasano climbed steadily through the Royals’ minor league system on the strength of a powerful bat and solid work behind the plate. He hit 22 homers in two Single-A stops in 1994, then followed up with 32 dingers between stops at Wilmington (High-A) and Wichita (Double-A) in 1995.
(Near) Opening Day Debut
Fasano skipped Triple-A the first time around, landing on Kansas City’s roster to begin the 1996 season. He made his debut, starting at catcher, on April 3, the Royals’ second game of the season. That one came against the Baltimore Orioles on the road at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Although Fasano eventually would appear in 29 games for the Triple-A Omaha Royals after being sent back down, he played 51 games in K.C. and connected on 6 bombs as a rookie.
From 1996 through 1999, Fasano appeared in at least 13 games for the big-league Royals each summer, topping out at 74 in 1998. But he was also sent back to Omaha each season, and even to Double-A Wichita for a stint in 1997.
During his 11-year MLB career, Sal Fasano reached base 364 times by virtue of hits, walks, and being hit by pitches. He hit 47 home runs and zero triples, meaning he was on base 347 times when he theoretically could have attempted a stolen base. He tried just five times and was thrown out in three of them, for a success rate of 40%.
Hit the Road, Jack (Sal)
On March 30, 2000, just as a new season dawned, the Royals “sold” Fasano to the Oakland A’s. It was the beginning of a dizzying stretch that would see the veteran catcher change teams at least 14 times through the end of his career in 2009.
Everybody Needs More Catching!
As he aged, Fasano’s power waned and his generally mediocre offensive production continued (career OPS+ of 76), but he also continued to provide solid handling of the pitching staff whenever he squatted behind the plate. The result was the aforementioned world tour of MLB teams that resulted in his seeing action with nine different big league franchises:
- Kansas City Royals
- Oakland Athletics
- Colorado Rockies
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Cleveland Indians
- Anaheim Angels
- New York Yankees
- Baltimore Orioles
- Toronto Blue Jays