Former Italian American Player of the Day: Knuckleballer Tom Candiotti (1983-1999)
Thomas Caesar Candiottiwas born August 31. 1957 in Walnut Creek, California. The knuckle ball pitcher was originally drafted by the Royals in 1980 but was claimed in the Rule 5 by the Milwaukee Brewers. After two seasons he was traded to Cleveland, and led the league with 17 complete games, posting a 16-12 record and a 3.57 ERA. He had an off season the next year losing 18 games, then went on to win 13 games or more for the next four years.
In 1991 he signed with the Dodgers as a free agent, and had the second best ERA in the league at 2.65 but lost a league leading 15 games. He then posted four losing seasons and one .500 season before going 10-7 in His Final contract year (1997). That off season he then signed on with Oakland. He once again led the league in losses going 11-16 and retired after the 1999 season.
His knuckle ball gave him longevity, pitching over 200 innings nine times, giving him 2725 over his 16 year career. He also had 1735 career strikeouts (97th all time) including five seasons of 140 or more. He was a better pitcher than his stats may show, he definitely was a work horse who put in a lot of innings with quality starts & low earned run averages.
He pitched until he was 42 years old finishing with a 151-164 record & a 3.73 ERA. He pitched in over 2725 innings in 451 games throwing 68 complete games &11 shut outs. He got to pitch in two post seasons; 1991 with Toronto going 0-1 & in 1996 with the Dodgers getting no decision.
Candiotti is an accomplished bowler averaging over 200 in Arizona Bowling leagues. He has earned himself a spot in the Bowling Hall of Fame in St. Louis & is only the second pro athlete to be inducted.
Retirement: After baseball he worked as a special assistant to the GM in Cleveland, then went to broadcasting. He did games for ESPN as well as working on Baseball Tonight & covering the Little League World Series. He is currently a broadcaster for Arizona Diamondbacks games.