Our interview with the former big league catcher.
Pro Perspective: Bill Nahorodny
- Philadelphia Phillies, 1976; Chicago White Sox, 1977 - 1979; Atlanta Braves, 1980 - 1981; Cleveland Indians, 1982; Detroit Tigers, 1983; Seattle Mariners, 1984.
Bill Nahorodny was born on August 31, 1953 in a town near Detroit called Hamtramck, Michigan.
He was athletic, and he starred in both Baseball and Basketball while in High School. Fun fact: in High School, Bill was scouted by a man named Dick Groch who, later on, was the scout that signed Derek Jeter!
After graduating from High School, Bill attended St. Clair County (Michigan) Community College and helped lead the team to a Junior College World Series in 1972.
Bill was selected out of St. Clair by the Philadelphia Phillies in the sixth round of the 1972 draft.
He would then spend parts of the next four plus seasons in the minor leagues, playing for teams like the Rocky Mount Phillies, the Reading Phillies, the Oklahoma City 89ers and the Toledo Mud Hens.
Making it to the Pros
Bill Nahorodny made his major league debut on September 27, 1976 in an away game against the Cardinals. The Phillies won 9 to 1, and Bill collected his first big league hit that game - a double in the top of the 4th inning.
He spent most of the 1977 season playing minor league ball in Oklahoma City before being picked up by the Chicago White Sox that September. He appeared in 7 games for the Sox that season.
Bill took on a more prominent role as the White Sox's primary catcher in 1978, appearing in a career high 107 MLB games that season and also collecting career highs in hits (82), home runs (8), RBIs (35) and total bases (121).
In 1979, he hit .257 and collected 6 home runs in 179 at bats for the Sox.
Then he was traded to the Atlanta Braves for the 1980 season, appearing in a combined 73 games for the Braves between 1980 and 1981.
The Cleveland Indians picked him up for the 82 season, and he appeared in 39 games that year for the Tribe.
Bill then signed with the Detroit Tigers and spent most of the 1983 season playing for the Evansville Triplets, appearing in only 2 games for Detroit.
In 1984, his last season in the majors, Bill appeared in 12 games for the Seattle Mariners.
After the Mariners he signed again with the Phillies, and he hit .275 over 102 games at the AAA level in '85. However, he never made it back to the majors, and retired after the season.
Bill's career totals in the majors were 203 hits, 25 home runs, 109 RBIs and a .241/.290/.385 slash line.
Behind the plate, Bill had a lifetime fielding percentage of .983 with 75 runners caught stealing, good for a 27% caught stealing percentage.
Q&A with Bill Nahorodny
Bill Nahorodny is a former MLB catcher with nearly 2,000 innings spent behind the plate in big league games. He has played with Hall of Famers like Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton and Phil Niekro. He knows his stuff!
I sent Bill a letter seeking his feedback on the questions I ask MLB catchers. He signed two of my cards (the 1981 Topps is shown below), and he graciously took the time to reply to my questions.
Just like the others in this Pro Perspective series, I am sharing Bill’s input with our readers so that his perspective will help catchers who want to continue to improve.
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: HR off Nolan Ryan. Breaking up S. Carltons no hitter
Question 2: What do you think is the most important skill that a catcher should have?
Question 3: If you could give one piece of advice to young catchers hoping to make it to the next level, what would it be?
Answer: Learn to call a good game
Durability is a quality that we've seen recommended before by other pro catchers. It's important to be tough behind the plate, no doubt.
Learning to call a good game is a more unique response when compared to other feedback we've received. This calls for having good Baseball IQ, knowing your pitcher(s) well, knowing the opposition, and other factors involved in being able to call a game.
So as a catcher, be eager to learn and grow not only physically but intellectually as well.
Thanks for Reading
We hope you enjoyed this article on Bill Nahorodny, and that you learned something from it!
If you have any questions or comments for us, please contact us.