- C, 1B, OF, RF, DH, 3B
- June 4, 1957
- 175 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-01-1980 with PIT
- Allstar Selections:
- 1983 GG, 1984 GG, 1985 GG, 1991 GG, 2003 Mgr
Extremely durable behind the plate, Tony Pena caught at least 130 games in ten different seasons. The five-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner caught 1,950 games in his 18-year career, mostly with Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Boston. He was dealt to the Cardinals for Andy Van Slyke in an unpopular trade, but St. Louis fans warmed to him whe he led the team in batting during the 1987 post-season. After his playing career, Pena became a coach and eventually managed the Royals for parts of four seasons.
"The day I stop giving my best in every game, is the day I'll think of retiring." Pena, from Charley Feeney's Pittsburgh column, The Sporting News, Nov. 11, 1985
Veteran catcher Tony Pena signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Indians three times.
Pirates catcher Tony Pena's boyhood idols were Roberto Clemente and Manny Sanguillen.
To the Cardinals, the emergence of young outfielder Jim Lindeman during pring training in 1987, made Andy Van Slyke expendable. They dealt the popular Van Slyke, along with Mike LaValliere and Mike Dunne, to the Bucs for Pena, on April 1, 1987. In addition, after the Cardinals had failed to sign free agent catcher Lance Parrish, the catcher position was a hole for the Cards.
Pena was the first catcher in the big leagues to use the leg-extended stance behind the plate in his catching position. Instead of squatting both legs beneath him, he would extend one leg (often his right) out to the side. This enabled him to spring to his feet quickly and throw, or get to bunted balls quickly.
Pena's mother, Rosalia, was a star softball player in the Dominican Republic, and she helped teach Tony how to play baseball. Pena said of his mother, "She could do it all."
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