Farewell, Johnny Antonelli (April 12, 1930 – February 28, 2020). From Cobb’s Hill to the World Series

Farewell,  Johnny Antonelli (April 12, 1930 – February 28, 2020). From Cobb’s Hill to the World Series

At Cobb’s Hill. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, May 27th, 1947. Johnny Antonelli pitched a one hitter and struck out twenty.

Today, “Johnny Antonelli dies: Was MLB All-Star and World Series hero for New York Giants in 1954” (D & C), we learned that Rochester’s baseball icon Johnny Antonelli died at age 89.

The New York Times, 2/29/20

In The RCAC is back at Cobb’s Hill (where Johnny Antonelli struck out 20) we wrote of Antonelli’s heroics for Flower City Post and Jefferson High School , including a May 1947 game when he struck out 20 batters (out of 21 outs) at Cobb’s Hill.¹

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Democrat at Chronicle, June 7, 1948 On another great Jefferson High School team, see  Jefferson and Rocky DiPonzio’s 1980 mark still stands

Cobb’s Hill is also rich in baseball history. From what I’ve discovered, the Monroe High School Redjackets played baseball in the park at least as far back as 1930. The greatest player at the Hill was probably Jefferson High School’s Johnny Antonelli who still lives in Rochester.

Democrat and Chronicle. Antonelli in his Flower City Post uniform.. May 24, 1947. The day before, he pitched a no hitter for Jefferson.

Antonelli in his Flower City Post uniform. The day before, he pitched a no hitter for Jefferson. Democrat and Chronicle, May 24, 1947

From 1946 – 1948 for Jefferson and the Flower City Post of the American Legion, Antonelli’s brilliant pitching captivated Rochester. At only 18, Antonelli signed with the Boston Braves, going directly to the major leagues, debuting in July during the Braves’ National League pennant winning season. Antonelli’s greatest game in Rochester was May 26th, 1947 when at Cobb’s Hill he struck out 20 batters (out of 21 outs) and gave up only one hit.

Recently, Antonelli became a baseball trivia answer. On March 31st, Elvis Luciano became the first player born in the 21st century to reach the major leagues. As compiled by Elias Sports Bureau, Antonelli was the first player born in the 1930s (April 12th, 1930) to reach the major leagues (July 4th, 1948). — from The RCAC is back at Cobb’s Hill (where Johnny Antonelli struck out 20)

The New York Times, 4/7/19

The New York Times, 4/7/19

¹ Reader James Hart writes: “I had the pleasure of meeting Johnny Antonelli when I was a kid. He was signing autographs at the Cobb’s Hill ice skating pond.”

From Johnny Antonelli: A Baseball Memoir by Johnny Antonelli and Scott Pitoniak (RIT Press, 2012)

Johnny’s greatest season was in 1954 when he won 21 games for the National League pennant winning New York Giants. In the World Series — best known for Willie Mays’ over the shoulder catch and the Giants’ sweep over the much favored Cleveland Indians — Antonelli won game two and saved game four as New York clinched the title.

(Above) Vic Wertz lashes into a pitch from the Giants’ Don Liddle, who had just relieved Sal Maglie, in the first game. Wertz connected, socking a 460-foot drive to the centerfield bleacher wall in the Polo Grounds, where Willie Mays gathers in the ball like a football pass receiver for what is probably the most famous Series catch in history. From THE WORLD SERIES: A Complete Pictorial History (1981) [David Kramer’s collection]

From The Sporting News: THE SERIES, An Illustrated History of Baseball’s Postseason Showcase (1988) [David Kramer’s collection]

From Johnny Antonelli: A Baseball Memoir by Johnny Antonelli and Scott Pitoniak (RIT Press, 2012) [Held at and scanned courtesy of the Brighton Memorial Library]

SEE ON ANOTHER GREAT JEFFERSON TEAM

Congratulations East on a magical season. So Jefferson and Rocky DiPonzio’s 1980 mark still stands.

About The Author

dkramer3@naz.edu

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY and Lake Affect Magazine.  My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.

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