Our interview with the former catcher
- Texas Rangers, 1975; Cleveland Indians, 1976 - 1980, 1981; Chicago White Sox, 1980; San Francisco Giants, 1982 - 1983
Life and Career Before the Majors
Ronald Ralph Pruitt was born on October 21, 1951 in Flint, Michigan.
Pruitt played ball at Flint Central High School, the same school that Jim Abbott would attend a few years later. He then went to Michigan State University for college.
During his baseball career with the Spartans, Pruitt was named to the All Big Ten team twice (1971 and 1972) and he ended up earning degrees in PE and Exercise Science.
Of note, Pruitt went Michigan State right around the time that Steve Garvey played (Garvey was drafted by the Dodgers in 1968).
Priutt was drafted out of Michigan State in the second round of the 1972 MLB draft by the Texas Rangers.
He began his pro career with the Denver Bears in 1972, and he spent the next few years in the minor leagues with a variety of teams.
Pruitt’s Time in the Big Leagues
Ron Pruitt made his MLB debut on June 25, 1975 for the Rangers. It was a night game against the Chicago White Sox at White Sox Park, in front of a crowd of 6,590 people.
Pruitt entered the game in the eighth inning as a pinch hitter for Jim Spencer and drew a walk in his first at bat.
The White Sox would go on to win the game 5 to 2.
After the season, the Rangers sent Pruitt to the Cleveland Indians in a multi-player trade.
In 1976, Pruitt played in 47 games with Cleveland, hitting .267 with 23 hits, a double and a triple.
The following season, Priutt had career highs in games (78), hits (63), doubles (10) and RBIs (32).
He remained in a platoon role behind the dish (and in the outfield and 3B) with the Indians between 1978 - 1980, and in the middle of the 1980 season he was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Alan Bannister.
His time with the White Sox was short lived, however, despite hitting .300 while playing in Chicago.
In April of 1981 the White Sox released him, and soon thereafter he signed again with the Indians.
Pruitt appeared in just 5 games with Cleveland in 1981, and he was released after the season. In February of 1982, he signed with the San Francisco Giants.
Most of Pruitt's tenure with the Giants was spent at the AAA level, as he had just five plate appearances in the big leagues in 1982 and one in 1983.
The Giants released him in April of 1983, and he quickly signed a new contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
However, the rest of his 1983 season was spent with the AAA Portland Beavers.
After 1983, Pruitt's career in the pro's was over.
Over the course of his 9 years in the major leagues, Ron Pruitt hit .269/.345/.360 with 214 career hits, 12 home runs and 92 RBIs.
He was used not just as a catcher but as a DH and multiple other positions, including time in the outfield, a third baseman and first baseman.
As a catcher, he had a career .986 fielding percentage and a 20% caught stealing percentage.
Q&A with Ron Pruitt
Ron Pruitt played as a catcher in the major leagues alongside big names like Jim Sundberg, Fergie Jenkins and Frank Robinson.
He played nearly a decade in the Major Leagues during a really interesting period in baseball history.
Recently, I reached out to Mr. Pruitt to learn more about his baseball career.
He graciously took the time to sign my 1978 Topps (#198) card and to answer my questions, which are below.
Those questions and answers with Ron Pruitt are as follows:
1.) What is your favorite memory from your playing career?
Answer: Catching Gaylord Perry - in 1st BL (big league) game
2.) In your opinion, who was the best pitcher you ever caught? Why were they the best?
Answer: Dennis Eckersley
3.) After your time as a pro baseball player ended, what did you do next in your career?
That's A Wrap!
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