Johnny Antonelli

John August Antonelli (born April 12, 1930) is an American retired professional baseball player, a former left-handed starting pitcher who played for the Boston and Milwaukee Braves, New York and San Francisco Giants, and Cleveland Indians between 1948 and 1961. Noted at the outset of his pro career as the recipient of the biggest bonus in baseball history when he signed with the Braves for $52,000 in 1948,[1] he later became a six-time National League All-Star, a two-time 20-game-winner, and the leader of the 1954 world champion Giants' pitching staff. He batted left-handed, stood 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and weighed 185 pounds (84 kg).

Johnny Antonelli
Johnny Antonelli 1955
Antonelli in 1955
Born: April 12, 1930 (age 89)
Rochester, New York
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
July 4, 1948, for the Boston Braves
Last MLB appearance
September 4, 1961, for the Milwaukee Braves
MLB statistics
Win–loss record126–110
Earned run average3.34
Career highlights and awards

Braves' "bonus baby"

Antonelli is a native and lifelong resident of Rochester, New York. A brilliant schoolboy career at Jefferson High School led to fierce competition among nine of the 16 Major League Baseball teams in existence in 1948, with the Braves the highest bidder.[2] Baseball rules of the time mandated that "bonus babies" be kept on major league rosters for at least two full seasons before they could be sent to the minors. So Antonelli went from high school to the MLB Braves, a veteran team fighting for Boston's first National League pennant since 1914. He never would pitch in the minor leagues.

While the Braves went on to win the 1948 NL championship, Antonelli was used largely as a batting practice pitcher. He appeared in only four games and four innings pitched, all relief assignments in low-leverage situations. His large bonus dwarfed the salaries of veteran Braves like ace starting pitcher Johnny Sain, causing some resentment among his teammates.[2] When the Braves voted to divide their World Series share, they ignored Antonelli completely. His second season with the Braves, 1949, brought no pennants to Boston, but it saw Antonelli gain more experience and greater success. He worked in 22 games with ten starts, notching his first three career complete games and shutout. After a mediocre 1950 season, he served in the United States Army, where he was stationed at Fort Myer, Virginia, and starred on its baseball team. His two years of service over, Antonelli rejoined the Braves—now based in Milwaukee—for 1953. As a regular member of the Braves' starting rotation, he posted only a 12–12 win-loss mark but finished fifth in the National League in earned run average (3.18).

Giants' star pitcher

The following February, Antonelli was dealt to the Giants as a major piece in a six-player trade for veteran outfielder Bobby Thomson, one of the most popular Giants since his "Shot Heard 'Round the World" pennant-winning home run of 1951. The trade set up Antonelli's most successful season. In 1954, Antonelli went 21–7, led the league in ERA (2.30) and shutouts (six), was selected an All-Star, and pitched the Giants to the pennant. Against the Cleveland Indians in the 1954 World Series, Antonelli started and won Game 2, then came into Game 4 as a reliever to shut down an Indian rally—earning a save—as the Giants pulled off a sweep.

Although the post-1954 Giants, like the 1949–50 Braves, fell back in the standings, Antonelli pitched well for five more years. He won 20 games for a sixth-place team in 1956 and another 19 for the 1959 San Francisco Giants, tied for the NL shutout lead (four) in 1959, and made four straight All-Star teams from 1956 to 1959. After his stellar 1959 campaign, he spent one more year with the Giants (1960), earning 11 saves out of the bullpen, before being traded to the Indians, his 1954 World Series foe, with Willie Kirkland for Harvey Kuenn.

Late career and retirement

But Antonelli was ineffective in Cleveland. After a no-decision in his first start of 1961, he lost his next four attempts, with his ERA ballooning to 6.04. On July 4, his contract was sold to his original organization, the Braves. He worked in nine games for Milwaukee, all in relief, and won his only decision, but his earned run average deteriorated to 7.59. On October 11, his contract was sold again, this time to the expansion New York Mets, a deal that would have returned Antonelli to the ballpark (the Polo Grounds) and the city where he had experienced his greatest MLB success. But instead of reporting to the Mets, he retired in February 1962. Antonelli said he was "tired of traveling" and wanted to be home with his family.[1]

In 12 MLB seasons, Antonelli worked in 377 regular-season games, with 268 starts. He fashioned a 126–110 record, with 102 complete games, 25 shutouts and 21 saves. In 1,99213 innings pitched, he allowed 1,870 hits and 687 bases on balls, striking out 1,162. His career earned run average was 3.34. In two World Series games in 1954, he compiled a 1–0 record, allowing one run (on a home run to Cleveland's Al Smith leading off Game 2) on eight hits and seven bases on balls in 1023 innings pitched, with 12 strikeouts, for an earned run average of 0.47. In All-Star play, he appeared in three midsummer games (in 1954, 1956 and 1959) and compiled an ERA of 4.26 in 613 innings pitched. Although he only pitched one-third of an inning, he was the winning pitcher in relief in 1959's first All-Star Game on July 7, when the Senior Circuit rallied from a 4–3 deficit in the eighth inning to prevail over the American League, 5–4, at Forbes Field.[3]

After his baseball career, Antonelli returned to Rochester and for many years ran a chain of Firestone Tire stores bearing his name.

See also


  1. ^ a b Rathet, Mike (January 23, 1962). "Jackie Jensen and Johnny Antonelli announce retirement from baseball". The Florence Times. AP. p. 11. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Edelman, Alexander, Johnny Antonelli Society for American Baseball Research Biography Project
  3. ^ Box score: 1959 MLB All-Star Game (1), Retrosheet.

External links

1949 Boston Braves season

The 1949 Boston Braves season was the 79th season of the franchise.

1950 Boston Braves season

The 1950 Boston Braves season was the 80th season of the franchise. During the season, Sam Jethroe became the first black player in the history of the Braves.

1954 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1954 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 21st playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 13, 1954, at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio the home of the Cleveland Indians of the American League.

1954 Major League Baseball season

The 1954 Major League Baseball season was contested from April 13 to October 2, 1954. For the second consecutive season, a MLB franchise relocated, as the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Baltimore Orioles, who played their home games at Memorial Stadium.

1954 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1954 New York Giants season was the franchise's 72nd season. The Giants won the National League pennant with a record of 97 wins and 57 losses and then defeated the Cleveland Indians in the World Series. It was the team's final World Series championship until 2010.

1954 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1954 Philadelphia Phillies season was a season in Major League Baseball. The Phillies finished fourth in the National League with a record of 75 wins and 79 losses.

1954 World Series

The 1954 World Series matched the National League champion New York Giants against the American League champion Cleveland Indians. The Giants swept the Series in four games to win their first championship since 1933, defeating the heavily favored Indians, who had won an AL-record 111 games in the regular season (a record since broken by the 1998 New York Yankees with 114 and again by the 2001 Seattle Mariners with 116, tying the 1906 Chicago Cubs for the most wins in a season). The Series is perhaps best-remembered for "The Catch", a sensational running catch made by Giants center fielder Willie Mays in Game 1, snaring a long drive by Vic Wertz near the outfield wall with his back to the infield. It is also remembered for utility player Dusty Rhodes' clutch hitting in three of the four games, including his pinch walk-off "Chinese home run" that won Game 1, barely clearing the 258-foot (79 m) right-field fence at the Polo Grounds. Giants manager Leo Durocher, who had managed teams to three National League championships, won his only World Series title as a manager. The Giants, who would move west to become the San Francisco Giants, would not win a World Series again until the 2010 season.

This was the first time that the Indians had been swept in a World Series and the first time that the Giants had swept an opponent in four games (their 1922 World Series sweep included a controversial tie game). Game 2 was the last World Series and playoff game at the Polo Grounds, and Game 4 was the last World Series and playoff game at Cleveland Stadium. The Indians would be kept out of the World Series until 1995, a year after Jacobs Field opened.

1955 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1955 New York Giants season was the franchise's 73rd season. The team finished in third place in the National League with an 80-74 record, 18½ games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers. The season ended with the Phillies turning a triple play with the winning run at home plate.

1957 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1957 New York Giants season involved the team finishing in sixth place in the National League with a 69–85 record, 26 games behind the NL and World Champion Milwaukee Braves. It was the team's 75th and final season in New York City before its relocation to San Francisco, California for the following season. The last game at their stadium, the Polo Grounds, was played on September 29 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1958 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1958 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 25th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 8, 1958, at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, the home of the Baltimore Orioles of the American League.

This was the first Major League Baseball All-Star Game without an extra base hit.For this Diamond Jubilee game, the ceremonial first pitch was thrown by U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon, who became President 10 years later. The attendance was 48,829. The game was broadcast on the NBC television and radio networks.

The first hit of the game was by legendary center fielder Willie Mays. The last scoring came in the sixth inning when the American League team took the lead after an error by third baseman Frank Thomas led to a single by Gil McDougald. Early Wynn was the winning pitcher as the American League scored a 4-3 victory.

Several players were named to the team but did not get into the game. These included Billy Pierce, Tony Kubek, Harvey Kuenn, Sherm Lollar, Rocky Bridges, Ryne Duren, Whitey Ford, and Elston Howard for the American League. For the National League team, Johnny Antonelli, Richie Ashburn, George Crowe, Eddie Mathews, Don McMahon, Walt Moryn, Johnny Podres, Bob Purkey, and Bob Schmidt were on the roster but did not play.

The next All-Star Game to be played in Baltimore was in 1993; that edition was aired on both CBS TV and radio, and played in Oriole Park at Camden Yards, with a special commemoration of this game's 35th anniversary.

1959 Major League Baseball All-Star Game (first game)

The 1959 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 26th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues composing Major League Baseball. The game was played on July 7, 1959, at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NL. The game resulted in a 5–4 victory for the National League. An unprecedented second game was scheduled for later in the season in Los Angeles, California.

1959 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1959 Philadelphia Phillies season was the 77th season in the history of the franchise. During spring training, manager Eddie Sawyer told the press, "We're definitely not a last place club... I think the biggest thing we've accomplished is getting rid of the losing complex. That alone makes us not a last place club." The Phillies finished in last place in 1959, seven games behind seventh-place St. Louis and 23-games behind the pennant and World Series winning Dodgers.

1959 San Francisco Giants season

The 1959 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 77th year in Major League Baseball and their second year in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season. The team finished in third place in the National League with an 83-71 record, 4 games behind the World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. It was the team's second and final season at Seals Stadium before moving their games to Candlestick Park the following season.

1960 San Francisco Giants season

The 1960 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 78th year in Major League Baseball. The team moved their home games from Seals Stadium to the new Candlestick Park. In their third season in the Golden Gate City, the Giants finished in fifth place in the National League, 16 games behind the World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates.

Coot Veal

Orville Inman "Coot" Veal (born July 9, 1932) is an American former professional baseball shortstop. He was signed by the Detroit Tigers before the 1952 season and played six seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). He was selected by the Washington Senators from the Tigers in the 1960 American League expansion draft. He played for the Tigers (1958–1960; 1963), Senators (1961) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1962).

Veal attended Auburn University, where he played baseball and basketball. He threw and batted right-handed, stood 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and weighed 165 pounds (75 kg). He was the first player to come to bat in the history of the second modern (1961–71) Washington Senators franchise, now the Texas Rangers. On April 10, 1961, at Griffith Stadium, with President John F. Kennedy having thrown out the first ball, Veal led off the bottom of the first inning against Hall of Fame right-hander Early Wynn of the Chicago White Sox. He reached base on an infield single near third base, was advanced to second on a Marty Keough single to left, then scored (along with Keough) on a Gene Woodling triple.

Veal was a very good defensive shortstop (.976), but his bat was somewhat weak. He had a lifetime average of .231, with 141 hits, 26 doubles, three triples, one home run in 611 total at bats and a slugging percentage of .288. He scored 75 runs and drove in 51 in his 247 big-league games. His last year as an active player was 1964.

Other career highlights include:

Four three-hit games, with the most impressive being two singles and a double vs. the Washington Senators, all against All-Star right-hander Camilo Pascual (August 19, 1958);

Hit his only big-league home run against All-Star left-hander Billy Pierce of the Chicago White Sox in front of 34,417 at Briggs Stadium (August 11, 1959);

Hit a combined .500 (15-for-30) against All-Stars Johnny Antonelli, Bob Grim, Billy O'Dell, and Camilo Pascual; and

Hit .333 (2-for-6) against Hall of Famer Whitey Ford.

Inducted into the Macon GA Sports Hall of Fame in 2001

Don Liddle

Donald Eugene Liddle (May 25, 1925 – June 5, 2000) was an American left-handed pitcher in professional baseball who played four seasons in the Major Leagues for the Milwaukee Braves, New York Giants and St. Louis Cardinals from 1953 through 1956. Born in Mount Carmel, Illinois, he batted left-handed, stood 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall and weighed 165 pounds (75 kg).

Liddle is most remembered as the man who, in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series, threw the pitch to Vic Wertz that resulted in The Catch — Giant center fielder Willie Mays' historic back-to-home-plate, over-the-shoulder grab of Wertz' long drive with two men on base in the deepest part of center field at the Giants' home field, the Polo Grounds. Had the ball fallen safely, the opposition Cleveland Indians would have taken the lead 4–2 late in the game. But Mays' catch preserved a 2–2 tie, the Giants won the game in extra innings, and swept the Series in four straight contests.

Wertz was the only batter Liddle faced that day. Reportedly, he commented after the game was over in the locker room, "Well, I got my man", joking about his good fortune and Mays' athletic performance. Liddle later started and won the decisive Game 4 in Cleveland, pitching 6​2⁄3 innings and giving up only one earned run.

Earlier in 1954, Liddle was part of a pivotal, five-player trade, coming to the Giants with fellow left-handed pitcher Johnny Antonelli from the Braves in exchange for 1951 playoff hero Bobby Thomson. Antonelli won 21 games for the 1954 Giants, leading them to the National League pennant, and topped the Senior Circuit in earned run average.

Liddle appeared in 117 Major League games played, 54 as a starting pitcher. In 427​2⁄3 innings, he gave up 397 hits and 203 bases on balls, striking out 198. He retired from baseball after the 1957 season, which he spent in minor league baseball.

Liddle died, aged 75, in his hometown of Mount Carmel, Illinois.

Lee Tate

Lee Willie Tate (born March 18, 1932) is an American former professional baseball player. The shortstop had a 15-year (1951–1965) career in minor league baseball, appearing briefly in the Major Leagues for parts of the 1958 and 1959 seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals. Tate was born in Black Rock, Arkansas; he stood 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall, weighed 165 pounds (75 kg) and batted and threw right-handed.

Tate played in 51 games for the Cardinals: ten (eight as a starting shortstop) at the end of the 1958 season, and 41 during the first three months of the 1959 campaign. He started 12 games in relief of regular shortstop Alex Grammas between May 23 and June 6, 1959, and collected half of his 14 Major League hits over that time, including his only Major League home run, off Johnny Antonelli of the San Francisco Giants on May 27. Overall, he batted .165 (14 for 85) in the Major Leagues, with three doubles and one triple his other extra-base hits.

As a minor leaguer, he appeared in over 1,600 games.

List of New York Giants Opening Day starting pitchers

The New York Giants were a Major League Baseball team that played in Manhattan, New York until moving to San Francisco in 1958. From 1883 until their move to San Francisco, they played their home games at the Polo Grounds. They played in the National League. The first game of the new baseball season for a team is played on Opening Day, and being named the Opening Day starter is an honor, which is often given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season, though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day. The Giants used 33 different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 75 seasons they played in New York. The Giants won 39 of those games against 35 losses in those Opening Day starts. They also played one tie game.Carl Hubbell had the most Opening Day starts for the New York Giants with six between 1929 and 1942. Mickey Welch, Amos Rusie and Larry Jansen each had five Opening Day starts for the team. Christy Mathewson, Red Ames, Jeff Tesreau and Bill Voiselle all had four Opening Day starts apiece for the Giants. Ed Doheny and Johnny Antonelli each had three Opening Day starts for the New York Giants and Antonelli also had an Opening Day start for the San Francisco Giants in 1959, giving him a total of four Opening Day starts for the franchise. Antonelli is the only player to have an Opening Day start for both the New York and San Francisco Giants.Other pitchers who had multiple Opening Day starts for the New York Giants were Hal Schumacher with three such starts, and Joe McGinnity, Rube Marquard, Jesse Barnes, Art Nehf, Virgil Barnes, Bill Walker and Sal Maglie with two apiece. Seven Hall of Fame pitchers made Opening Day starts for the New York Giants — Welch, Tim Keefe, Rusie, Mathewson, McGinnity, Marquard and Hubbell.

The New York Giants won the modern World Series five times, in 1905, 1921, 1922, 1933 and 1954. Their Opening Day starting pitchers in those years were Joe McGinnity in 1905, [Phil Douglas (baseball)|Phil Douglas]] in 1921, Art Nehf in 1922, Carl Hubbell in 1933 and Sal Maglie in 1954. In 1904, the Giants won the National League championship but no World Series was played. Christy Mathewson was the Giants' Opening Day starting pitcher that season. The Giants also won the 19th century World Series twice, in 1888 and 1889. Cannonball Titcomb and Mickey Welch were the Giants Opening Day starting pitchers in 1888 and 1889, respectively.

Jesse and Virgil Barnes, who each made two Opening Day starts for the New York Giants, were brothers.


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