A chat with catcher and coach Hal Naragon
Harold (Hal) Richard Naragon was born on October 1, 1928 in Zanesville, Ohio but grew up and still lives today in Barberton, Ohio. Hal was a star high school baseball player and in 2000 the Barberton High School baseball field was named “Naragon Field” in his honor. Naragon, a catcher, was 6’ and weighed about 160 pounds and batted left handed. After signing as a free agent with the Cleveland Indians in 1947 after graduating from high school, Hal started working his way up the minor league chain and made his major league debut on September 23, 1951. Hal missed the 1952 and 1953 season while serving our country in the Marine Corps. Hal made the Indians team in 1954 and played there until he was traded to the Washington Senators in 1959. After the 1960 season the Senators relocated to Minnesota and Naragon played with the Twins in 1961 and 1962. After being released by Minnesota after the 1962 season he was offered a coaching position under manager Sam Mele and he coached with the Twins from 1963 through 1966. After the 1966 season Naragon moved on to coach for the Detroit Tigers between 1967 and 1969 before he hung up his spikes once and for all. Hal caught in the big leagues for all or parts of 10 seasons with the Indians, Senators and the Twins compiling a career batting average of .266 in 424 games but he was never able to achieve full-time playing status. Never the less, Naragon was a valuable asset behind the plate and swung a good left handed stick and in 985 at bats had 262 hits, 6 home runs and 87 RBI’s. Today Hal Naragon is retired and enjoying life with family and friends in Barberton, Ohio. And if you talk to anyone who knows Hal, they will tell you he is truly one of the “Gentlemen of the game of baseball” and I really enjoyed my time talking with him.
The SABR Baseball Biography Project write-up on Hal can be found here.
The interview with Hal is 63 minutes in length and took place in September of 2010.