Former Team Italy catcher Tyler LaTorre is the new pitching coach at California State University, Sacramento. It should come as no surprise to learn how catchers later blossom into some of the game’s best pitching coaches. Former backstop Dave Duncan, one of the most respected and successful pitching coaches of all-time, was credited for the success of four Cy Young Award winners: LaMarr Hoyt (Chicago White Sox) in 1983, Bob Welch (Oakland A’s) in 1990, Dennis Eckersley (Oakland A’s) in 1992, and Chris Carpenter (St. Louis Cardinals) in 2005. Dana LeVangie, who has been with the Boston Red Sox organization since being drafted as a catcher in 1991, was the big league pitching coach for two seasons and led the Boston Red Sox to the 2018 World Series title.
Tyler LaTorre’s Italian roots trace back to his great-grandparents in Italy. It took two and a half years for him to become eligible to play for Team Italy as a dual citizen and Italian passport holder after thorough research, documentation and tedious paperwork authenticating his Italian lineage. Under the watchful eye of Team Italy coach Mike Piazza, Tyler LaTorre helped the Azzurri win the 2012 European Championship title. He nearly took home the Euro Championship tourney MVP honors as well. Eight of his 14 hits (14-for-28, .500 BA) were for extra bases (six doubles and two home runs), and he registered nine RBI. Tyler LaTorre reminisced, “We had one goal and that was to repeat as European champions.”
After spending 10 seasons in the minor leagues--which included two minor league championship titles--Tyler LaTorre got a taste of life in the big leagues when he was invited to San Francisco Giants Spring Training Camp twice during his career. But most fans know Tyler LaTorre for his play with Team Italy in the 2013 World Baseball Classic when he appeared in two games behind the dish. Tyler LaTorre considers his time with Team Italy to be among the most cherished. He continues to give back to those who love and support the game. Tyler LaTorre said, “I’m always a guy who’s out there signing autographs, talking to people before or after the game. I’m always trying to do the camps for the little guys or the visits in the community or whatever I can. I remember as a fan that I always appreciated the guys signing autographs and making sure to give back, getting to know the community around you, and that’s the kind of player I’ve always tried to be.”
After retiring from his playing days,Tyler LaTorre spent two seasons coaching at San Francisco State, where he served as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. Tyler LaTorre then moved south to his parents’ alma mater at San Jose State, where he became the pitching coach and mentored two Mountain West Conference (MWC) All-Star selections--including a co-MWC Pitcher of the Year. The former University of California, Davis and Aptos High School All-Star catcher Tyler LaTorre now returns north within striking distance of his alma mater at nearby Sacramento State as the new pitching coach to help the team repeat as Western Athletic Conference Champions. Forza #Italia!
by Roberto Angotti