Matt Merullo '83
Matt Merullo was another gifted two-sport star for Fairfield Prep, excelling in football and baseball.
On the gridiron he was a three-time all-state selection as well as an all-MBIAC choice. As one of the key components on Prep’s 1982 Class LL championship team, Merullo caught 34 passes for 630 yards and with Ed Boyle (39 rec./350 yds.) formed arguably the best receiving duo in the state.
Merullo also played on the defensive line and handled the punting and place-kicking for the Jesuits. But with all the accolades he received for football, his true calling came on the baseball diamond.
He starred behind the plate for the Jesuits, wielding a dangerous bat as well as a strong throwing arm.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound left-handed hitter was a three-time all-MBIAC pick as well as an all-stater. He played four seasons for coach Ed Rowe, compiling a lifetime batting average of .377 (2nd all-time on the Prep career list), including a .465 mark his senior season. He ranks first on the Prep career list in hits (84) and RBI (70) and is one of the few Jesuits to have had a 30-hit season. During his tenure with Prep, the team won the MBIAC championship every season.
A member of the 1983 USA High School Team, Merullo was offered a scholarship to North Carolina and played with the Tar Heels until he was taken in the seventh round of 1986 draft by the Chicago White Sox. When Merullo debuted with Chicago on April 12, 1989 against the Seattle Mariners (he went 0-for-1), he became the second member of his family to make it to the majors. His grandfather Lennie Merullo was a shortstop for the Chicago Cubs from 1941-1947 (Matt’s father, Len “Boots” Merullo, also played pro ball in the Pittsburgh Pirates system).
Matt spent parts of six seasons in the majors, also playing with the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins. He saw time behind plate as well as at first base and designated hitter. In 1991 he played in a career-high 80 games with the White Sox, batting .229 with five homers and 21 RBI, while also leading the American League in pinch-hit appearances (47). In his final season, as a member of the Twins in 1995, he hit .282 in 76 games with a homer and 27 RBI. He retired with a lifetime average of .234, seven home runs and 59 RBI in 223 games.
Following his retirement he served a stint as a minor league manager in the Baltimore Orioles organization and as a scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks.