Gary Allenson – Our Interview with the Former Catcher

Gary Allenson

Our interview with the former catcher

Gary Allenson Red Sox catcher


As a Player: Boston Red Sox, 1979 - 1984; Toronto Blue Jays, 1985

As an MLB Coach: Boston Red Sox, 1992 - 1994; Milwaukee Brewers, 2000 - 2002; Baltimore Orioles, 2010

From West Coast to East Coast

Gary Allenson was born on February 4, 1955 in Culver City, California, and grew up in the local area. He attended Lawndale High School in California and went on to play college baseball at Arizona State University for the Sun Devils.

In 1976, Gary was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 9th round of the MLB draft.

Gary had an excellent minor league career, starting with the Bristol Red Sox in 1976 and culminating with the triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox in 1978.

That season, he was named the International League MVP, becoming one of the few catchers in history to win the award.

Gary Allenson made his big league debut on April 8, 1979 in a Sunday afternoon away game against the Cleveland Indians in front of less than 7,000 fans.

The game went to extra innings, and the Red Sox won in the 12th inning, 7 to 6. Allenson entered the game in the 11th inning as a defensive replacement.

During his time with Boston, Allenson alternated between serving as the primary starting catcher and the backup.

allenson red sox

Allenson's best season arguably was in 1982 when he set career highs in plate appearances (307), hits (54), home runs (6), total bases (83) and RBIs (33).

He was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for the 1985 season, where he played in 14 games. Gary finished his MLB playing career after the '85 season. 

Over his seven seasons in the majors, Gary Allenson hit .221 in 1,061 at bats with a total of 235 hits, 19 home runs and 131 RBIs.

Defensively, Gary kept a .984 fielding percentage behind the dish and he threw out 110 would be base stealers, good for a 32% caught stealing percentage.

From Player to Coach 

Baltimore Orioles coach
Gary coaching while with the Orioles

After his playing career ended, Gary quickly got into coaching. 

Beginning in 1987 he managed in the Yankees and Red Sox minor league systems before being called up as a big league coach with Boston in 1992.

In 1996 Gary resumed his managerial career in the minor leagues, where he would stay for the 1996 - 1999 seasons.

He jumped up to the majors again in 2000, this time for a three season coaching stint with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Then from 2003 - 2017 he managed various minor league teams from the Rookie league level all the way up to AAA.

However, he did spend part of the 2010 season as a coach for the Baltimore Orioles before going back to the minors in 2011. 

Q&A with Gary Allenson

Gary Allenson is a former big league catcher who has experience with multiple MLB teams. He has played with or coached many MLB Hall of Famers - names like Carlton Fisk, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice and Wade Boggs, among others.

I wrote Gary a few months ago looking to get his feedback on my regular questions for pro catchers. He kindly autographed his 1981 Topps card for me and responded to my questions, as shown below. 

Gary Allenson autograph, signed card
Gary Allenson signed 1981 Topps

Like each of our features in the Pro Perspective series, I wanted to share Gary's responses with our readers in the hope that his input will help catchers interested in improving their game. 

Here are Gary's replies 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: Grand slam vs. Brewers in '81. Bunt single (bases loaded, 2 outs) in 10th vs. Angels (won game).

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

Answer: Common sense when calling a game

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

Answer: Confidence that you will play in big leagues (too many people don't give you a chance)... not up to them, up to you

Gary Allensonson pro catcher answers questions

I enjoyed Gary's response to the final question, in particular. It's not something that has been specifically highlighted in previous responses. Confidence in yourself is incredibly important, especially if your goal is to play at the highest level of Baseball.

Block out the noise, work hard, and stay focused on the goal. 

Thanks for Reading

We have a few more Pro Perspectives on deck, and we will continue posting them in the near future. Stay tuned for more!

In the meantime, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments.

Scott Perry is the owner and lead author at Catchers Home. He's a former baseball player, a current coach, a husband and a Dad. He remains as passionate about baseball today as he was as a kid.