Our interview with the late catcher
Pro Perspective: Vic Roznovsky
- Chicago Cubs, 1964 – 1965; Baltimore Orioles, 1966 – 1967; Philadelphia Phillies, 1969.
A Kid from Small Town Texas Makes the Big Leagues
Vic Roznovsky was born on October 19, 1938 in Shiner, Texas, a small town about 90 miles east of San Antonio.
He played ball at St. Ludmila’s Academy in Shiner, and was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1958.
Vic began his professional career in the minors at the age of 19, first playing with the San Angelo Pirates then the Roswell Pirates.
Eventually, Vic was traded to the Chicago Cubs organization. He would go on to labor in the minors for a few more seasons before he received his big league call up.
Vic’s MLB debut came on June 28, 1964, in a game against the Houston Colt 45’s played at Wrigley Field. Vic entered the game as a pinch hitter for Ernie Broglio and grounded out to second in his first at bat.
He would go on to play in 35 games for the Cubs that year, appearing as either a catcher or pinch hitter.
In 1965 Vic Roznovsky appeared in 71 games for the Cubs, collecting 3 home runs and gunning down 12 would-be base runners that year.
Notable Years in Baltimore
Vic Roznovsky was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for the 1966 season. He served as a back-up to Andy Etchebarren, along with catcher Larry Haney.
1966 was a magical season for the Orioles, as they would go on to sweep the Los Angeles Dodgers 4 games to none to win the first World Series in Baltimore's history.
Although Vic didn't appear in the World Series, he was ready in his Orioles uniform and he earned a World Series ring.
In 67, Vic appeared in 45 games for the Orioles, and he spent all of 1968 in the minors with the Orioles’ AAA club, the Rochester Red Wings.
Vic’s final professional season was 1969. He was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies and saw action in 13 games that season.
In his MLB career, Vic appeared in 205 games, collected 99 hits, 4 home runs and 38 RBIs. Behind the plate, he maintained a .988 fielding percentage and he threw out 36 base runners, for a strong 42% career caught stealing percentage.
Note: unfortunately, Vic Roznovsky passed away on January 18, 2022 at 83 years old.
Q&A with Vic Roznovsky
Vic Roznovsky was a former big league catcher with nearly 1,000 innings of MLB playing time under his belt. He was a teammate of tons of MLB Hall of Famers – men such as Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Luis Aparicio, and Jim Palmer.
I wrote Vic in 2018 looking to get his input on my normal questions for pro catchers. He kindly autographed a 1968 Topps card and responded to my questions, as shown below.
Like all the others in the Pro Perspective series, I was eager to share Vic's input with readers in the hope that his responses will help catchers that want to improve their game.
Here are Vic’s responses to my questions, as you will can also read in the images below.
Question 1: What is your favorite memory from playing in the major leagues?
Answer: I am writing this on Mother's Day and I'll tell you that, when I played with the Cubs I hit my 1st home run on Mother's Day and my mother... was watching the game out in Shiner Texas. I called after the game to let (her) know that I hit my 1st homerun and she could not talk because she was crying.
Question 2: What do you think is the most important skill that a catcher should have?
Answer: Well there a(re) very import(ant) things you need to have and we will go over them. 1. You have to want to be a catcher, it's a lot of work. 2. It's good to have a good body because you have to catch almost everyday. 3. You have a good throwing arm, or have a quick arm and you can help your arm by throwing a lot, for distance. I was an outfielder (originally) so I had a great arm. That made it easier at the catching...
Question 3: If you could give one piece of advice to young catchers hoping to play at the next level, what would it be?
Answer: Well if you can do the things I talked about... well enough you will reach those different levels. I started (as) an outfield(er) as I said, and #1 I took my Managers advice and started learning everything I needed to work on... #2 Now you work on all the things I talked about. #3 ...you have to... learn about your own pitching staff... know everytime about your own pitchers, how to call the pitches you will call for all (pitchers)... You have to love the game and have to work hard.
Boiling down Vic's responses, my main take-aways are this: first, you need to have the desire to catch and the work ethic to do the demanding work of catching.
You also need to be physically fit, and especially have a strong arm. You need to be a teach-able person and listen to your coaches. Lastly, you must get to know your pitchers and learn how to catch them effectively.
Though Vic was into his early 80’s at the time of his response, this former pro dispensed wisdom in his letter that catchers would be smart to pay attention to.
Thanks for Reading
We hope you found this article to be informative and – for our catchers – both helpful and actionable. We will continue releasing more Pro Perspectives soon, so stay tuned.
For any questions or comments, be sure to reach out to us. Thanks for stopping by.