|New York Mets – No. 33|
|Born: June 13, 1990|
Santa Barbara, California
|September 1, 2014, for the Detroit Tigers|
|MLB statistics |
(through 2021 season)
|Runs batted in||298|
|Career highlights and awards|
James Thomas McCann (born June 13, 1990) is an American professional baseball catcher for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox.
Prior to beginning his professional career, he played college baseball at the University of Arkansas. McCann has also competed for the United States national baseball team. In 2019, as a member of the White Sox, he was named to the MLB All-Star Game.
McCann was born on June 13, 1990 in Santa Barbara, California. His mother Carla suffered a torn amniotic sac while she was pregnant with McCann, and she spent the bulk of the pregnancy on bed rest. During that time, she watched local sports, particularly the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB). After McCann was born, his mother served as his tee ball coach and drove him to and from Little League Baseball games and tournaments. As a child, McCann was teammates with future MLB All-Star Jeff McNeil.
McCann attended Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California. Out of high school, the White Sox drafted McCann in the 31st round of the 2008 MLB draft, but he did not sign, opting to attend college at Arkansas.
At Arkansas, McCann played college baseball for the Arkansas Razorbacks baseball team in the Southeastern Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Division I. As a freshman in 2009, he teamed with future big leaguers Dallas Keuchel, Drew Smyly, Mike Bolsinger, Brett Eibner and Andy Wilkins to help the Razorbacks reach the 2009 College World Series. As a team captain in his sophomore season, McCann hit a walk-off home run to beat the #14 LSU Tigers, 4–3, in front of a Baum Stadium record crowd of 11,103. The home run was voted as the third-most memorable moment in Baum Stadium history by Razorbacks fans in 2014.
In 2010, he played collegiate summer baseball with the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod Baseball League.
In his junior season, McCann had a .306 batting average, six home runs, 14 doubles, 11 stolen bases, 38 runs batted in (RBIs) and 35 runs scored in 61 games played and was named a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, presented to the best catcher in NCAA's Division I.
McCann played for the United States national baseball team in the 2011 Baseball World Cup and the 2011 Pan American Games, winning the silver medal in the latter.
The Tigers selected McCann in the second round, with the 76th overall selection, of the 2011 MLB draft. He was Detroit's first selection of the draft, and the first of four catchers the team selected. He signed with the Tigers and made his professional debut in 2011, playing five games with the Gulf Coast Tigers of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League before being promoted to the West Michigan Whitecaps of the Class A Midwest League.
The Tigers invited McCann to spring training in 2012. He began the 2012 season with the Lakeland Tigers of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League, and received a promotion to the Erie SeaWolves of the Class AA Eastern League on June 6, though be batted only .200 for Erie. After adjusting his offensive approach, McCann responded with a .283 average through July 14 of the 2013 season, and appeared in the All-Star Futures Game. He ended the season with a .277 average, eight home runs, 30 doubles, 54 runs batted in (RBIs), and an on-base plus slugging (OPS) of .731.
McCann began the 2014 season with the Toledo Mud Hens of the Class AAA International League. McCann finished the season with the Mud Hens batting .295 with seven home runs, 54 RBIs, and a .770 OPS.
On September 1, 2014, McCann was called up by the Detroit Tigers. He made his MLB debut that day in the bottom of the ninth inning, replacing catcher Alex Avila. McCann got his first MLB start on September 19, 2014, catching for Justin Verlander against the Kansas City Royals. McCann had two hits (both to center field), a stolen base, and scored twice.
In spring training in 2015, McCann won the job as the team's backup catcher to Avila. He hit his first major league home run, an inside-the-park home run, on April 29, 2015. On May 21, 2015, he hit his first conventional home run, a walk-off in the 11th inning to give the Tigers a 6–5 victory over the Houston Astros. McCann became the first MLB player to hit an inside-the-park home run and a walk-off home run for his first two career home runs since Tim Raines in 1981. On June 28, 2015, McCann hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to give the Tigers a 5–4 victory over the Chicago White Sox. McCann became the first MLB player to hit an inside-the-park home run and two walk-off home runs for his first three career home runs since Tony Piet in 1932.
McCann set the modern major league record for the number of consecutive games played at catcher to start a career without an error, surpassing the previous record of 93 set by Frankie Pytlak from 1932 to 1934. McCann finished the 2015 season with no errors in 112 games played at catcher to lead all MLB catchers in fielding percentage. He became the sixth catcher in major league history to catch at least 100 games in a season without committing an error, following Chris Iannetta and Chris Snyder in 2008, Mike Matheny in 2003, Charles Johnson in 1997 and Buddy Rosar in 1946. He also threw out 41 percent of would-be base stealers (versus a league average of 32 percent), helping him earn the nickname "McCannon" among Detroit fans.
McCann was named the 2015 Detroit Tigers/Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association Rookie of the Year. He finished the 2015 season with a .264 average (106-for-401), 18 doubles, five triples, seven home runs and 41 RBI, while throwing out 41 percent of potential base stealers. His 29 multi-hit games ranked fourth among American League rookies.
On April 11, 2016, McCann suffered a Grade 2 right ankle sprain and was placed on the disabled list. On May 31, 2016, McCann's Major League record of 139 games to start a career at catcher without committing an error ended.
For the 2016 season, McCann batted .221 with 12 home runs and 48 RBI in 105 games. Following the season, McCann was named a Gold Glove Award finalist for catcher, along with Carlos Pérez and Salvador Pérez. McCann threw out 45 percent of would-be base stealers, second-highest among AL catchers, and led his position with nine double plays. His nine Defensive Runs Saved rating also ranked second in the AL.
On May 26, 2017, McCann was put on the 10 day DL because of a left hand laceration. He returned to the Tigers on June 9 against the Boston Red Sox. McCann struggled at the plate through June, finishing the month with a .194 batting average and .268 on-base percentage. However, a hot July including a ten-game hitting streak to finish off the month and four multi-hit games pushed McCann's average to the .246 mark with a .321 on-base percentage. For all of July, McCann batted .396 (19-for-48) with a .473 OBP, seven extra-base hits and 11 runs batted in. His hitting streak would extend to 14 games before ending on August 5. McCann finished the 2017 season with a .253 batting average, while hitting 13 home runs in 352 at-bats.
On January 11, 2018, the Tigers signed McCann to a one-year deal worth $2.375 million, avoiding arbitration. McCann played in a career-high 118 games during the 2018 season, posting a .220 batting average with 8 home runs and 39 RBI. He threw out 36% of potential base stealers, versus a league average of 28%. On November 30, 2018, the Tigers non-tendered McCann and he became a free agent.
On December 19, 2018, McCann officially signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Chicago White Sox. McCann had his best start to a major league season in 2019, batting .319 (67-for-210) with 9 home runs by the end of June. He was invited to his first All-Star Game, where he hit a single in his only plate appearance. He finished the year hitting .273 with 18 home runs and 60 RBI, all career highs.
The White Sox retained McCann for the 2020 season, tendering a $5.4 million one-year contract. On August 25, 2020, McCann was the catcher when Lucas Giolito threw the 19th no-hitter in White Sox history. Overall with the 2020 Chicago White Sox, McCann batted .289 with seven home runs and 15 RBIs in 31 games.
On December 15, 2020, McCann signed a four-year, $40.6 million contract with the New York Mets. He appeared in 112 games for the 2021 Mets, batting .232 with 10 home runs and 46 RBI.
McCann and his wife, Jessica, were married in November 2014. They reside in Nashville, Tennessee. The couple had their first children, a set of twins named Kane and Christian, in December 2017. He is an avid hunter, including an annual preseason duck hunt along the Mississippi flyway near Carlisle, Arkansas. McCann is also a devout Christian who told an interviewer in 2017 that he does not drink alcohol, considering it to be "poison" to an athlete's body.