Sep 23, 2012

Former Italian / American Player of the Day: John Valentinetti (1954/ 1956-1959)

Vito John Valentinetti was born on September 16, 1928 in West New York, New Jersey. He grew up in his later years in Mount Vernon, New York just outside the Bronx. He went to Aviation high school with Whitey Ford, and got a baseball scholarship to Iona College. Vito threw the school’s first ever no hitter, while leading the Iona Gaels team to winning seasons ever year he pitched. The hard throwing right hander became the first Iona player to make it to the major leagues & is enshrined in their Hall Of Fame.

Vito was signed by the Cubs in 1950, and then went off to the Army for two years joining the Cubs staff in 1954 pitching just one game. He went back to the minors returning in 1956 going 6-4 with a 3.78 ERA. He was mostly a relief pitcher in his career but made occasional starts as well. He would pitch in the South side of Chicago as well as Cleveland, Detroit & Washington over a five year career. He posted a 13-14 Career record with 3 saves, 94 strike outs & a 4.73 ERA in 257 innings pitched in 108 games.

After his playing days he threw batting practice for the Mets home games from 1962-1982. He also tossed BP across town for the A.L. New York team, during their home stands. Pretty kool job for Mr. Valentinetti.

He was honored in a parade at Hoboken, New Jersey with other Jersey born major leaguers, celebrating 100 years of baseball in that town. The mayor, Govenuer & other celebrities were also on hand. He was also honored by the Tigers at their new ball park, with a brick engraved with his name & other old Tiger player’s names on it.

After throwing batting practice, he began a 25 year career in the New York State Department of Office Administration. In 2009 he was on hand to open up the new Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

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