Pro Perspective: Facundo "Cuno" Barragan
From Sacramento to the Windy City
Facundo "Cuno" Barragan was born in 1932 in Sacramento, CA. The son of Mexican immigrants, Cuno was the youngest of seven children. He learned to play Baseball with the kids in his neighborhood located in what is now downtown Sacramento. Though originally wanting to pitch, he found himself catching around the age of 12 when no one else on his team wanted to take up the position!
Cuno took a long and winding path to the majors. He played well in high school and went to college for a time, yet he eventually left school to work laying tile. After some time he got back in to the game, and eventually played semi-pro ball in cities like Amarillo, Idaho Falls, and Portland.
After a solid 1960 season, Barragan was formally drafted by the Chicago Cubs - at the age of 28.
Cuno made his big league debut on September 1, 1961, where he joined an elite group of ballplayers to hit a home run his first time up to bat. He hit that home run to deep left field during the bottom of the second inning, off of San Francisco Giants pitcher Dick LeMay. The Cubs would go on to lose that game in 14 innings.
Barragan played for the Cubs for parts of two more seasons, retiring at the end of 1963. He finished his career having played in 69 MLB games and having collected 33 big league hits.
Q&A with Cuno
Cuno is a former big league catcher with the Chicago Cubs, one of the most storied franchises in all of Baseball. He has played with many MLB legends - names like Ernie Banks, Lou Brock and Billy Williams.
I wrote Mr. Barragan a few weeks back hoping to get his perspective on my typical questions for catchers. He signed a 1962 Topps card for me and he also answered my questions, as shown below.
Like the others in this series, I'm excited to share Cuno's responses with the readers of Catchers Home with the hope that his input will help catchers looking to improve.
Here are his responses to my questions, as you will also notice in the image below.
Question 1: What is your favorite memory from playing in the major leagues?
Answer: Hitting a home run at my first at bat 9/1/61
Question 2: What do you think is the most important skill that a catcher should have?
Answer: Good arm, strong legs.
Question 3: If you could give one piece of advice to young catchers hoping to play at the next level, what would it be?
Cuno's guidance to younger catchers to hustle is sound advice. It's one of those areas where the guys with a lot of heart will stand out above others. I also think his input about the top skills for catchers points to the value in consistent practice and even to the value in consistent (and careful) weight training. Catching is a position where being strong really pays off.
Thanks for Reading
There are at least 20 more Pro Perspectives I have ready to share with everyone, which I will continue to release in the following weeks and months ahead. Keep on the lookout for them!