The Padres first All-Star, Chris Cannizzaro, passed away today at the age of 78 after suffering from emphysema. The Union-Tribune caught up with him over the summer during the All-Star Game festivities and asked him about his memories of that time. Check out the video at the top of their page.
While Cannizzaro’s stats suggest he may not have been the most deserving of the All-Star invite, the National League needed catching depth, something that’s not often thought of in today’s game.
“I was hoping I would get to play, but it was a thrill just to be on the team,” Cannizzaro said after the game. “It was something I’ll never forget.”
Cannizzaro played two separate stints with the Padres. He was part of the inaugural team in 1969 and played until mid-season of 1971 when he was traded to the Cubs. He came back in 1974 to play and finish his career in 26 games with the Pads.
Padres Cy Young pitcher Randy Jones remembers him fondly, but maybe not the correct years.
Sorry to hear that my old teammate Chris Cannizzaro has passed away. The first Padre Allstar and my catcher in 73 & 74. Some great memories— Randy Jones (@RJBBQ35) December 30, 2016
Our condolences to the family, I know many of them live locally and his granddaughter was a Pad Squadder for a time, keeping the Padres connection intact.
More in depth bio by SABR:
RIP Chris Cannizzaro, 78, first @Padres All-Star and an original @Mets catcher in 1962. #SABR bio: https://t.co/EeV9LoJlRC pic.twitter.com/mAz6x74EMP— SABR (@sabr) December 30, 2016