Q&A with Former MLB Catcher and Coach Bill Fahey [Bio & Interview]

Pro Perspective: Bill Fahey

Bill Fahey posing for a picture with his bat while a member of the Texas Rangers in the early 70s

Pro Perspective: Bill Fahey

Teams

  • Washington Senators, 1971; Texas Rangers, 1972, 1974 - 1977; San Diego Padres, 1979 - 1980; Detroit Tigers, 1981 - 1983.

Bill's Early Life

Bill Fahey was born on June 14, 1950 in Detroit, Michigan. Growing up, he was a talented all around athlete who played Baseball, Football, Basketball, Golf, and wrestled in high school.

Despite playing so many different sports, his main one was Baseball. Bill was drafted right out of high school by the Baltimore Orioles, in the 13th round of the 1968 draft.

He decided instead to go to college, where he played one year at the University of Detroit. 

In the secondary draft of 1970, Bill was selected first overall by the Washington Senators, and this time he decided to sign. 

Bill spent the 1970 season with the class A Burlington Senators of the Carolina League. He spent 1971 at the Double A and Triple A levels.

Late in the 1971 season, Bill was called up to the majors where he made his big league debut against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. He played in two late season games for the Senators, but got no hits.

That offseason, the Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers. Bill started the 1972 season at Triple A, and halfway through the year he was called back up to the big leagues.

Major League Career

Bill collected his first MLB hit during a pinch hit appearance in late July of '72. He stayed with the Rangers for the rest of the season and was stellar defensively, compiling a .992 fielding percentage behind the plate.

Bill Fahey rookie card

Bill Fahey's rookie card, a 1972 Topps.

He started 1973 at the Triple A level, as the Rangers new manager opted to use more veteran catchers in Rick Billings and Ken Suarez. Despite solid play that year, his season was cut short due to injuries.

Fahey spent most of 1974 back at Triple A, though he played six games for the Rangers that year. 

The next three seasons, he served as the primary backup to the Rangers all star catcher Jim Sundberg. However, the 1978 season was disappointing for Fahey as he spent it back in the minors.

That offseason, Bill was traded to the San Diego Padres. His move to sunny California was just what he needed, as he had a much improved offensive season in 1979.

The following year, Fahey played in a career high 93 games and also set career highs in hits (62) and RBIs (22).

After the season ended, he was traded to the St Louis Cardinals. Then, right before the 1981 season began, the Cardinals traded Bill to his hometown Detroit Tigers. Fahey would play three seasons in Detroit, before retiring late in 1983.

1981 Detroit Tigers meeting at the mound at Tiger Stadium, pitcher and catcher

Tigers catcher Bill Fahey talking with pitcher Aurelio Lopez during a 1981 game at Tiger Stadium. (Getty Images)

Career Totals

Across an 11 year MLB career, Fahey hit .241/.296/.296 with 225 hits, 7 home runs and a 2.1 WAR.  Always known for his solid defensive skills, he had a career .989 fielding percentage as a catcher and gunned down 104 runners attempting to steal (34%).

After his playing career ended, Fahey coached at the minor league and major league levels, most notably as a coach for the San Francisco Giants between 1986 and 1991.

His son, Brandon Fahey, played three seasons for the Baltimore Orioles between 2006 - 2008.

Q&A with Bill

Bill Fahey is a former major league catcher and professional coach with over 2,400 innings of MLB playing time under his belt. He has played for (or with) hall of famers such as Ted Williams, Sparky Anderson, Dave Winfield and Alan Trammell.

I sent Bill a letter a few months back asking for his feedback on my typical questions for pro catchers. He graciously signed my 1976 Topps card and answered my questions, as shown below.

Following all the others in the Pro Perspective series, I wanted to share Bill's responses with readers in the hope that his input will help catchers looking to get better.

Here are Bill's responses to my questions, as you can also read in the image below.

Question 1: What is your favorite memory from playing in the major leagues?

Answer: 1st Major League at-bat as I fulfilled my childhood dream!

Question 2: What do you think is the most important skill that a catcher should have?

Answer: Knowledge of the game. Understanding situations and playing the game intelligently.

Question 3: If you could give only one piece of advice to young catchers hoping to make it to the next level, what would it be?

Answer: Have a passion for the game and work hard. Outwork your competition.

Former MLB catcher Bill Fahey answers questions about catching

The amount of natural talent you possess is something outside of your control. However, you control how hard you work, and outworking those around you can elevate you to new heights. This is true not only in Baseball but in life.

Bill Fahey does a good job of reminding us of the importance of working hard, in addition to the need to be an intelligent catcher with high Baseball IQ.  

Thanks for Reading

I hope you found this article to be interesting. Please take a moment to check out our many other Q&A articles in our Pro Perspectives series for content similar to this. 

Thanks for stopping by Catchers Home.