Fitzgerald homered off the Phillies’ Tony Ghelfi in his first major league at-bat on September 13, 1983. As the Mets’ starting catcher in 1984, he tied Jerry Grote‘s club record .995 fielding percentage and was named the Topps All-Star rookie catcher. That December, the Mets sent him to the Expos with Hubie Brooks, Floyd Youmans, and Herm Winningham in the blockbuster trade for Gary Carter.
Fitzgerald had trouble staying healthy as Carter’s replacement in Montreal. He had shoulder and knee problems in 1985. He was batting a career-high .282 on August 1, 1986 when he broke a finger during a game at Shea Stadium — an injury that ended his season and bothered him for several years.
For most of his Montreal career, Fitzgerald split time with such forgettable backstops as Nelson Santovenia and Gil Reyes. He won a starting job with California in 1992, but hit just .212 and left after the season as the Angels made room for Greg Myers.