While playing at Holy Cross under coach Jack Berry, Desautels was a peppy, rah-rah catcher adept at encouraging and supporting young pitchers. He spent four seasons as a backup catcher for the Tigers and then returned to the minors for three seasons. He joined the Red Sox in 1937 and played regularly for four years. In 1938, his best season, he caught 108 games and hit .291. After the 1940 season, he was traded to the Indians and returned to his backup role.