Victor Caratini was not fortunate enough to be part of the Chicago Cubs’ 2016 championship run, making his MLB debut for the Cubs against the Washington Nationals on June 28 of the following year. The 28-year-old has mostly served as a backup catcher throughout his career, most notably as Yu Darvish‘s personal catcher. Since joining the San Diego Padres in the trade that sent Darvish to SoCal, he has started games more regularly early in 2021 while Padres #1 catcher Austin Nola recovered from a broken finger.
While Caratini has yet to win a World Series ring, he has several noteworthy career achievements as part of his personal highlight reel.
1. Two-Homer Game Off Jacob deGrom
- Mark Teixeira – April 24, 2015 (he was still in the league?)
- Giancarlo Stanton – July 6, 2016 (the 2017 home run king has the most bombs versus deGrom – 4)
- Mitch Garver – April 4, 2019 (his only plate appearances against deGrom)
- Andrew Stevenson – September 26, 2020 (one was an inside-the-park HR!)
In a tough series against the Mets, Caratini powered the Northsiders to a road sweep with the long ball. His solo shot to the upper deck in the 2nd inning tied the game, and his three run blast down the right field line in the 7th inning broke the tie and scored the winning tallies for the Cubs.
This accomplishment makes Caratini part of a select group of players who can say they owned deGrom during the prime of his career.
2. Catching Alec Mills’s No-Hitter
Mills was the first Cub to throw a no-hitter since Jake Arrieta in 2016. As I detailed in my 2020 post, this was the second Cubs no-hitter at Miller Park, but the first against the Milwaukee Brewers. The other Cubs no-hitter at Miller Park was Carlos Zambrano‘s no-no against the Houston Astros in a game relocated due to Hurricane Ike.
This was Caratini’s first big-league no-hitter. He also went 2-for-4 in the game with two runs scored and three RBI. Mills’s no-no helped the Cubs retake the Central Division crown during the 2020 Covidball season, although they would fall in the playoffs to the Miami Marlins.
3. Catching Joe Musgrove’s No-Hitter
Caratini would be part of another historic moment after being traded to the Padres. He was behind the plate for Joe Musgrove‘s no-no, the first ever for the San Diego franchise. Musgrove’s no-hitter was the first of 2021 after Alec Mills’s no-no in September 2020. This made Caratini the first catcher in MLB history to catch consecutive no-hitters for different teams. This second no-no also made Caratini the only Puerto Rican catcher other than Iván Rodríguez to stand behind the plate for two such games, placing him in elite company.
While winning a World Series title is considered the ultimate accomplishment in a MLB player’s career, “Victory Carrot”, as he is sometimes referred to on social media, has assembled a list of achievements that should make any player proud. It has been rewarding to follow Caratini’s development since the beginning of his big-league career, and I expect him to be part of a few more historic moments before hanging up his cleats.
Featured Image: Victor Caratini, San Diego Padres catcher, high-fiving teammates in San Diego dugout by San Diego Padres (Twitter @LosPadres).