Nick Testa

Nick Testa played professional baseball in the Giants’ farm system from 1946 through 1957 as a C-3B, but never distinguished himself with his bat. He made the major league roster as third-string catcher at the start of 1958, after projected regular Bill Sarni had a heart attack. He was on deck to hit in his one major league game (an extra-inning defensive stint) when Daryl Spencer ended it with a home run. Testa was then taken off the active roster and was made a coach for the balance of the 1958 season.

Testa returned to the minors and caught and managed at various levels until the early 1960s, when he became the first and for more than twenty years the only American to catch in Japan. Unfortunately, Testa didn’t hit Japanese pitching any better than he’d hit in the U.S.

From Japan, Testa drifted to the Quebec Provincial League, where he suddenly started hitting with authority. For three of the four years during which he was player/manager for Granby (1965-1966-1967-1968) he was the all-star catcher each year, twice hit over .340, and in the odd year hit .293 — in a league which was well-known as a pitcher’s league. The vast majority of Provincial Leaguers who made the majors were pitchers, and during those years there were several ex-major leaguers and future major leaguers in the circuit, including Ray Daviault.

After leaving Granby, Testa caught for many years for the semi-pro New Rochelle Robins, and was strength-and-conditioning instructor for the New York Yankees. One day Dave Winfield yelled at Testa, “Hey, I’d like to be in your kind of shape when I’m 65.”

Returned Testa, “What’s wrong with being in my kind of shape now?”