Frank Pytlak

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MLB Catching Great

At 5’7” and 160 pounds, Frankie Pytlak was one of the smallest catchers in baseball history. He caught for the Cleveland Indians (1932-40) and Boston Red Sox (1941 and 1945-46). Mickey Cochrane selected Pytlak to be an instructor at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center and he was chosen to be the catcher for the military base’s team. In his career Frankie Pytlak hit .282 with seven home runs and 272 RBI’s. He hit over .300 in four different seasons; 1933 (.310), 1936 (.321), 1937 (.315) and 1938 (.308).

Pytlak was also an outstanding defensive catcher, and once set a Major League record for handling 581 consecutive chances without an error. He was the catcher for Bob Feller when he recorded 18 strikeouts in a game. After retiring from baseball, Pytlak lived in Buffalo and operated a sporting goods store.

Pytlak also became a national celebrity when he set a world record by catching a baseball dropped 708 feet from the Terminal Tower in Cleveland.