Monday, November 19, 2018

#22 Hal Naragon

Catcher Hal Naragon advanced through the Indians' minor league system despite rather pedestrian numbers and a two year Korean War era military stint with the US Marines. In 1954 he stuck with the big club and spent until early in 1959 as Cleveland's primary backup catcher. He worked mostly behind Jim Hegan over that time and generally got 140ish at bats. His stats in the majors, at least with the Indians, were better than his minor league work would have suggested.

He spent the bulk of 1958 at AAA and was dealt to the Senators early in the  '59 season. In four seasons with the Nats/Twins he played again in a backup role. He retired after the '62 season in which he had less than 40 plate appearances.

After his playing days, he was a coach on the staffs of the Twins and Tigers through 1969. After that, he returned to his Barberton, Ohio hometown and ran a sporting goods store until he retired in 1990. He is currently alive and well at age 90 and still a fun interview apparently. His SABR bio is an entertaining read. 

The card's back is far better than the front thanks to cartoons that pointed out his field generalship and the 'lusty' .323 he hit in 1955.

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