After outstanding careers at Andover High (.397 as a senior) and Rollins in Florida (fifth in school history with a .358 average) and a breakthrough performance in the Cape Cod League, Hanigan was signed by the Reds as an undrafted free agent.
After five Minor League seasons, he debuted in the majors at age 26 during the 2007 season.
In seven seasons with the Reds, Hanigan hit .262 and gained a reputation as one of the best defensive catchers in baseball.
So the Rays were thrilled to acquire the backstop in the off-season.
Tampa’s Matt Joyce calls him “Ryno,” but also nicknamed Ryan “The Rock.”
“Just because he reminds me a little bit about Rocky,” Joyce said. “Behind the plate, he takes a beating and just keeps coming.”
While Hanigan is making Tampa his home, All-Star teammate Evan Longoria sees the spirit of Boston in the Rays’ catcher.
“Although now we like to think of him as a Tampa Bay Ray, he kind of epitomizes what this city (of Boston) is all about,” Longoria said, adding, “He’s a hard worker.”
Hanigan may be known for his intense “game face,” but he could not hide his excitement for his return to Fenway last week.
“I have been around the majors for a long time and I don’t get too caught up in things,” he said. “But this is definitely cool. It definitely feels like a home crowd for me. This is special.”
Hanigan ended up starting two of the three games in the series against the Red Sox. He expects to see more action when he returns to Fenway on May 30.
“We have really been looking forward to this season,” Hanigan’s father said. “We went to a lot of games over the years, but having him this close to home in the AL East is great. We can travel up the East Coast watching him play, and he will be back at Fenway.”