Dec 1, 2012

Former Italian / American Player: Frank Mancuso (1944-1947)

Frank Octavius Mancuso was born May 23rd, 1918 in Houston Texas. He is the younger brother of New York Giants catcher Gus Mancuso. Frank Mancusco was the youngest of seven children and followed in his brothers footsteps as a catcher. 

The six foot right hand hitting Mancuso served in the United States Army during World War II. In 1942 serving as a paratrooper he suffered a serious injury & was discharged. It looked as though his baseball career was over, especially being a catcher. The injury reulted in a condition where when he looked straight up he would lose the flow of oxygen to his brain making him pass out.

At times he was also unable to look straight up to catch pop flies. He defied the odds & made it to the big leagues with the St. Louis Browns in 1944.

That year he played in 88 games batting just .205 with one HR 11 doubles & 24 RBIs.In 87 games behind the plate he led the AL with 17 errors. In 1944 the Browns won their only American League title, finishing first for the only time in their 52 year existence. (In 1954 the franchise moved & became the Baltimore Orioles.)

Post Season: The 1944 World Series was the all St. Louis Series as the Cardinals defeated the Browns in six games. Mancuso appeared in two Series games. In Game #2 at Sportsman's Park he had a big pinch hit RBI single off Max Lanier in the 7th inning which tied up the game. The Cards won it in extra innings.

In 1945 he became the Browns main catcher batting .268 with 13 doubles one HR & 38 RBIs. He allowed the second most steals in the league (46) making six errors with 11 passed balls (3rd in the AL).

The following season he played 87 games, splitting time with four other Browns catchers most notably Hank Helf (69 games). That season he allowed the most stolen bases in the AL (44) throwing out 27% of the base runners trying to steal.

He played one more season with the Browns before finishing up his career with the Washington Senators in 1947. In a four year career Frank Mancuso batted .241 with 241 hits 37 doubles 7 triples 5 HRs & 98 RBIs. Behind the plate he threw out 28% of runners trying to steal with a .972 fielding %.

Retirement: After baseball he served on the Houston City Council for thirty years before retiring. He passed away in 2007 after suffering a heart attack at age 89.

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