Former Braves catcher Biff Pocoroba has died at the age of 66. Several Facebook reports confirmed the death.
Pocoroba spent parts of 10 seasons with the Braves, from 1975 through 1984. He was originally drafted out of Canoga Park High School in California in the 17 round of the 1971 amateur draft by the Braves.
Blessed with one of the best names in Braves and baseball history, Pocoroba made is MLB debut on April 25, 1975 at the age of 21. Pocoroba hit .255 in his rookie season, with one home runs and 22 RBI.
Two years later, Pocoroba became the main catcher for the Braves. He hit .290 with a .394 on base percentage, eight home runs and 44 RBI. The next season, Pocoroba started off as the main catcher for the Braves and made the All-Star team, but then he got hurt in early August and missed the rest of the season.
Pocoroba’s shoulder injury was severe, and he never got his starting job back. He played in only 28 games in 1979 and then only had 96 plate appearances in 1980. In 1981, the Braves actually had Pocoroba start 20 games at third base when Bob Horner was injured.
Since he was a switch-hitter, Pocoroba really became Atlanta’s main pinch-hitter and emergency catcher. He had 208 plate appearances as a pinch-hitter in his career, with a .210 career average and a .320 OBP.
After his injury in 1978, Pocoroba caught in only 96 games from 1979 through 1984. The Braves released him in April 1984 when they traded for Alex Trevino.
Pocoroba was a fan favorite because of his name and his baseball cards also drew attention. Many who grew up in that era (like the writer of this article) had some of Pocoroba’s cards. As a matter of fact, the first ever baseball card I ever got was Pocoroba’s 1978 Topps card.
Here is a funny story from the San Diego Union-Tribune that mentioned the one time Ted Turner tried to trade Pocoroba to the Padres for the San Diego Chicken.
Pocoroba is the 10th member (out of 39 total) of the 1982 division-winning Braves team that has died. Bob Watson, another pinch-hitter on that team, died on May 14 at the age of 74.
Here is a list of the other Braves players from that team in 1982 that have passed away:
Donnie Moore – died in 1989 at the age of 35
Rufino Linares – died in 1998 at the age of 47
Rick Mahler – died in 2005 at the age of 51
Pascual Perez – died in 2012 at the age of 55
Rick Camp – died in 2013 at the age of 59
Carlos Diaz – died in 2015 at the age of 57
Larry Owen – died in 2018 at the age of 63
Tom Hausman – died in 2019 at the age of 65
Also, general manager John Mullen (in 1991) and coaches Tommie Aaron (1984) and Rube Walker (1992) have also died from the 1982 Braves, which is one of the most favorite teams in Atlanta’s 54-year history.
Condolensences to the Pocoroba family on the death of Biff Benedict Pocoroba, a longtime favorite of many Braves fans.
Listen to The Bill Shanks Show weekdays at 3:00 p.m. ET on Middle Georgia’s ESPN. You can listen online at TheSuperStations.com. Follow Bill on Twitter at @billshanks and you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.