Pro Perspective: Matt Merullo
From UNC to the White Sox
Matt Merullo was born in 1965 in Massachusetts. He came from a Baseball family, as his Grandfather - Lennie Merullo - was a Shortstop for the Chicago Cubs between 1941 - 1947.
Matt played college ball at UNC Chapel Hill (go Heels!), and was drafted in the 7th round by the Chicago White Sox in 1986.
He made his major league debut for the White Sox in 1989 and he would go on to play 6 seasons in the big leagues. In addition to the White Sox, Matt spent time with the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins.
His best season came in 1995 while playing for the Twins. That year, Matt appeared in 76 games and hit .282/.335/.379.
Over the course of his MLB career, Merullo appeared in 223 big league games, collected 116 hits, and made 475 putouts in the field.
Merullo retired after the 1995 season with the Twins. Since then, he has worked as a scout with the Arizona Diamondbacks and as a minor league manager in the Baltimore Orioles organization. He currently provides instruction and personal coaching to ballplayers near his home in Connecticut.
Q&A with Matt
Matt grew up in a Baseball family and has spent time as a player, coach and scout for multiple big league clubs. He has also played side by side with Hall of Famer's Carlton Fisk, Frank Thomas, Tim Raines, Jim Thome and Kirby Puckett.
In short - he knows his stuff and is a great person to learn from. I wrote him a letter a month or two ago and he signed a card for me and answered a few of my questions.
Matt's insight is interesting and adds value to any catcher looking to strengthen their game. His responses to my questions are below. Check them out and take note...
Question 1: What is your favorite memory from playing in the major leagues?
Answer: When I was a kid my Father always used to say "Have Some Fun" as his last words of advice. Then when I got called up to be the opening day starting catcher, I saw Dad in the stands, took off my hat - got a sharpie and wrote "What Fun!" under the bill and flung it to him in the stands before the game. Then I hit a home run, a base hit & threw out a runner.
Question 2: What do you think is the most important skill that a catcher should have?
Answer: Soft hands to catch.
Question 3: If you could give one piece of advice to catchers hoping to play at the next level, what would it be?
Answer: Learn how to set up in your squat position in a way that allows you to move athletically and makes receiving and throwing and blocking easier.
Matt's response to the first question is my favorite thus far. What an awesome story.
His advice to the third question is great in that it is specific yet fundamental. Perhaps your position may need to be tweaked to help you move more efficiently? Definitely worth taking note of.
Thanks for Reading
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