Salvatore Frank Fasano
(born August 10
) is a Major League Baseball catcher
who is currently in the Cleveland Indians
organization. Fasano stands at 6'2" tall and weighs 245 pounds. He bats and throws right-handed
. He is known to many for his famous Fu Manchu moustache
Jeff Pearlman of ESPN.com said of Fasano: "When I think of Sal Fasano, however, I think of greatness. Not of Willie Mays or Ted Williams greatness, but of a uniquely excellent human being who, were class and decency the most valued standards of a career, would be the easiest Hall of Fame inductee of all time."
Kansas City Royals
After three seasons in the minor leagues, the catcher made his major league debut on April 3
, for the Royals. He spent the next three seasons splitting catching duties with starter Mike Macfarlane
and rising prospect Mike Sweeney
. In , he established career highs in at bats
(216) and RBI
(31). He also ranked second in the American League
in HBPs with 16.
The Oakland Athletics
purchased Fasano's contract from the Royals in March of and handed the portly catcher the team's back up duties behind starter Ramon Hernandez
. Fasano helped the A's capture the A.L. West division crown that season, and made his, to date, only post season appearance as a defensive replacement. While with Oakland, Fasano says, he came to realize that many players around him were taking anabolic steroids
, and briefly considered following suit, but he decided against it. The Royals repurchased his contract the following off-season.
Fasano's hitting woes continued back in Kansas City, and the Royals swapped back-up catchers with the Colorado Rockies
in June , with Brent Mayne
heading to the Royals. After an uneventful half season in another reserve role, Fasano and the Rockies cut ties later that autumn.
After one at bat with the Anaheim Angels
in , Fasano in , his first season back in the majors achieved career highs in home runs
(11) and runs scored
(25) as a member of the Baltimore Orioles
Fasano began for the Philadelphia Phillies
as a backup to Mike Lieberthal
. His distinctive Fu Manchu mustache earned him the cult admiration of Phillies fans, who began a Phan Phavorites
fan club called Sal's Pals. Fasano showed his gratitude by buying the group tickets and pizza. Fasano began to see more playing time as Lieberthal got injured, eventually taking over the starting role. His light hitting though cost him his job as rookie backstop Chris Coste
emerged in Lieberthal's absence. When Lieberthal returned, there was no spot for Fasano. He was designated for assignment and acquired by the New York Yankees
in exchange for minor league infielder Hector Made
New York Yankees
One of Fasano's first acts as a Yankee was to trim his facial hair, a requirement set forth by owner George Steinbrenner
. He spent the late summer and September as a back-up to Jorge Posada
and did not appear in the Yankees four game loss to the Detroit Tigers
in the Division Series. On August 19
, 2006, Fasano made his first career pinch-running
appearance, taking the place of fellow catcher Jorge Posada during a 13-5 win over the Boston Red Sox
at Fenway Park
Toronto Blue Jays
Fasano agreed to a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays
in January , and was invited to major league spring training
. On April 26
, the Blue Jays purchased Fasano's contract from Syracuse
of the International League
(AAA) in order to fill a void left by an injury to Gregg Zaun
. During this time, he shared catching responsibilities with Jason Phillips
. His first at bat as a Blue Jay came against the Texas Rangers
on April 28
. Following the return of Zaun, the Blue Jays designated Fasano for assignment on June 13
and sent him outright to Syracuse on June 16
At Syracuse, he hit .413 and earned a surprise callup to the Blue Jays. He had a .178 average with 1 home run and 4 RBI in 16 games during his brief stint as a replacement for the injured Zaun. He finished the season as a member of the Blue Jays 40-man roster and the back-up to Gregg Zaun and Curtis Thigpen.
On March 25, , the Blue Jays released him.
On April 4
, 2008, Fasano signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Braves
and was assigned to their Triple-A affiliate, the Richmond Braves
. He did not play in a big league game with the Braves.
On June 19
, 2008, Fasano was traded by the Braves to the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later
and assigned to the major league team as a backup for Kelly Shoppach
with Victor Martinez
on the DL.
Fasano is the son of Vincent and Nella Fasano, Italian immigrants who settled in the Chicago area. He is married to the former Kerri Kubinski, who was a volleyball player at Evansville. In the off-season, Fasano helps out at his father-in-law's excavating company, from which has grown a great appreciation for not only ancient civilizations, but pre-historic life as well. In a pre-game interview before an away game against the Atlanta Braves
in 2007, Fasano expressed interest in going back to school to study paleontology
after he retires. Fasano is a born-again Christian; he was introduced to spirituality by Kansas City teammate Keith Lockhart
and credits religion with curttailing his desire to drink. Sal and Kerri have two children and are expecting a third in September. Tests have shown that two of the four chambers in the baby's heart are not developing properly; the child will undergo surgery with a 95% success rate upon birth.