Sep 2, 2012

Former Italian / American Ball Player & Barber At The L.A. Hilton: Bill Consolo (1954-1962)

William Angelo Consolo was born August 18, 1934 in Celevland,Ohio. His family moved to the West Coast, settling in the Los Angeles area.

His father was a barber & worked at the Statler Hilton Hotel in downtown L.A. While growing up he became a good friend of future MLB player & Big Red Machine manager Sparky Anderson. Consolo was named Los Angeles High School Player of the Year in 1951-1952.

He along with Anderson & future MLB player Bill Lacheman, played on the American Legion National Champion team in 1951. The game was played in Detroit at Tiger (Briggs) Stadium. Sparky Anderson would also go to manage the Detroit Tigers & win a World Series there in 1984.

The five foot eleven shortstop was signed right out of high school, by the Red Sox as a bonus baby in 1953. The Red Sox supposedly enhanced their offer by arranging to purchase the barber shop confectionery store at the Los Angeles Hilton on behalf of his father. He would play for the Red Sox for as their Opening Day second baseman the following year in 1954.

Consolo played in a career high 91 games that season, playing at short stop (50 games) third base (18 games) & second (12 games) hitting just .227. He would become mostly a utility infielder in his MLB career batting a career high .270 in 68 games in 1957.

He once told a story on how he hit an inside the park HR at Fenway Park but was called out for not touching second base. He stormed out of the dugout & told the umpire he was wrong, he touched second but missed third base.

He played in Boston for seven years of the fifties, getting traded to the Washington Senators in 1959. He then moved on to the Minnesota Twins in 1961 when the franchise relocated.

In 1962 he went to the Philadelphia Phillies for 13 games, then the Los Angeles Angels (28 games) & finished the year with the Kansas City A’s (54 games) all as a reserve player. He retired that season after a ten year career playing in 603 games batting .221 with 260 hits 9 HRs 31 doubles 11 triples & 83 RBIs.

Retirement: After his playing days, he became a barber just like his dad, working at the Statler Hilton Hotel in L.A. during the sixties. The hotel is now named The Wilshire Grand Hotel.

He returned to baseball coaching the Detroit Tigers under his old friend Sparky Anderson in the 1980's. He coached in Detroit from 1979 -1992 & again in 1995. Consolo passed away in 2008 at West Lake Village, California at the age of 74.

No comments: