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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Craig Cala played, then took up passion as youth instructor

Craig Cala 1990 San Jose Giants card
For Craig Cala, his longtime career, the career he took up after his own playing days were done, was exactly what he wanted to do.

Cala, in 2011, was continuing a long career as a baseball instructor in South Florida.

"It's been a passion of mine to instruct kids," Cala told The South Florida Sun-Sentinel in 2011. "It's an opportunity to have them build their skills. It's my goal to help kids accomplish their goals and take them to the next level."

Cala started his career as an instructor after a brief career as a player. Cala played just two seasons in the Giants system, making it to high-A but no higher.

Cala's pro career began in 1989, signed by the Giants as an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana State University. At LSU, Cala hit .323 in 60 games in 1988, then .295 in 72 contests in 1989.

With the Giants, Cala started at rookie Pocatello. There, he hit .319 in 44 games. He also hit eight home runs and knocked in 18. In one August game, he picked up three hits.

In 1990, Cala made high-A San Jose. In 48 games, though, he hit just .227. He didn't return for 1991, an injury cutting short his playing career.

His playing career over, Cala turned to instruction. In 1995, Cala helped a young high school pitcher named Jason Page.

"We can't put pressure on him on trying to break records," Cala told The Sun-Sentinel that July of Page. "I just tell him to do his best and not to worry about things like that."

Cala continues to serve as an instructor in 2013 with Player's Choice South Florida.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 993
Made the Majors: 628 - 63.2%
Never Made Majors: 365-36.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 277
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 167

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