Sep 13, 2013

Former Italian / American Player: Dino Restelli (1949 / 1951)

Dino Paolo Restelli was born September 23, 1924 in the Hill section of St. Louis, Missouri. The family moved out west to San Francisco where he was signed out of high school to the Pacific Coast League.

He was known as Dingo, batting .343 in his first pro season in the Pacific Coast League before going off to World War II serving the United States until 1945. He came home to play ball in the minors for the next decade, having his contract sold from the PCL’s San Francisco Seals to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1949. He batted over .300 six times at the minor league level, including three seasons batting over .340.

In 1949 he came up with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a reserve outfielder, and made a huge debut. He hit eight HRs in his first ten games catching everyone’s attention, right off the bat. He was placed in the Pirates line up behind Mets announcer the reigning HR slugger of his day; Ralph Kiner.

Unfortunately Restelli fizzled out and in 232 at bats (72 games) he batted .250 hitting 12 HRs with 11 doubles & 40 RBIs. He only made one other MLB appearance playing in 21 games in the 1951 season batting .184 with 1 HR & 3 RBIs. He would have his contract purchased by the Senators & then the Indians but never made it to the big league level again.

Retirement: After baseball Restelli became a San Francisco Police officer in 1954. Dino was big swing dancer, serving as long time president of an Oakland based swing dance organization. He also was a big promoter of West Coast Swing music which reached its peak in the late 1990’s. 

He married his wife Jude who was an accomplished singer, & they were married for 37 years until his passing in 2006. At his funeral she sang songs in his memory, including a special version of “Take Me out to the Ball Game”.

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