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Former major league catcher Jim Pagliaroni dies at 72

Jim Pagliaroni, 72, a former major league catcher who was behind home plate for Jim "Catfish" Hunter’s perfect game with the Oakland A’s in 1968, died April 3 at his home in Grass Valley, Calif. He had cancer and heart problems.

The Boston Red Sox held a moment of silence in his honor before Tuesday's game at Fenway Park.

Pagliaroni played for the Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Oakland A’s and the expansion Seattle Pilots in 11 seasons. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Pagliaroni finished with a .252 batting average and had only 41 errors overall and a .991 fielding average. In 1962 he came close to catching a perfect game with the Red Sox, when pitcher Bill Monbouquette gave up no hits and allowed only a walk against the Chicago White Sox.

Born Dec. 8, 1937, in Dearborn, Mich., Pagliaroni grew up in Long Beach and attended Wilson High School there. He was drafted in 1955 by the Red Sox, who gave him a bonus contract of $50,000. But he was called to serve in the Army from 1956 to 1958, then played his first full season in the majors in 1960.

He finished his baseball career with the Pilots in 1969, a season that teammate Jim Bouton immortalized in his brazen nonfiction account, "Ball Four."

Pagliaroni later became an executive with a food distribution company in the western United States. He also raised funds for the ALS Foundation to help honor Hunter, who died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 1999.

-- Claire Noland

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I met Mr. Pagliaroni just after the 1962 baseball season. He appeared at Ron Fairly's Dugout restaurant one night with Fairly, Don Drysdale and Roger Craig. We had to ask him who he was, since we were rusty on our Red Sox that year. I remembered he was a nice, quiet man. He and other there that night signed my baseball, which I still have.

Ron Fairly's Dugout restaurant was in Long Beach, by the way. Fairly was a grad of Long Beach Jordan High School.

jim Pagliaroni was my favorite player growing up in Pittsburgh & going to Forbes Field. one time during a game I kept bugging my dad to get his autograph for me, after awile my dad left with a baseball and when he came back it was was signed "jim pagliaroni" Years later I found out it was my dad who signed his name...
I got a chance about a 12 years ago to meet Mr Pagliaroni & I told him the story about the ball, He said "get the ball to me and I'll sign it, I would have done thaT FOR MY SON TOO" I'm looking at the ball now signed by my 2 favorite ballplayers, my dad and Mr. Pagliaroni, now they're both gone......


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