Jan 13, 2011

Former Italian / American Player of the Day: Ben Guintini (1946 / 1950)

Benjamin John Guintini was born on January 13, 1920 in Los Banos, California. He was the son of Italian immigrants & didn’t learn how to speak English until he was in school.

He played two years of minor league ball before going off to World War II for two years returning to be a star play & fan favorite in the Pacific Coast league with the San Francisco Seals, San Diego Padres & Hollywood Stars baseball teams.

He was very acrobatic & once delighted his home town fans in Los Banos California doing a walking hand stand out to his center field position. As a result his manager Lefty O’Doul benched him, the dismay of the fans.

Comedian Joe E. Brown was huge fan of his & tried to convince him to make movies. He once came across a pitcher who took a lot of pills to help out his health. When the pitcher told him he was struggling at 414 he told him “If I were you, I’d do something else with those pills”.

He made his MLB debut in 1946 with the Pittsburgh Pirates going 0-3 in two games. He only made one more MLB appearance that was in 1950 with the Philadelphia A’s going hitless in four at bats over three games. In a ten year minor league career he hit .263 with 929 hits 99 HRs 168 doubles 252 RBIs & 27 stolen bases.

Retirement: After baseball he sold Cadillac’s in California for 37 years, passing away in 1998 at age 79.

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