Sep 26, 2014

Former Italian / American Player & New York Reataurant Owner: Jerry Casale (1959-1962)

Gennaro Joseph Casale was born on September 27th 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. The six foot, two right handed pitcher was signed as an amateur free agent by the Boston Red Sox in 1952.

In his first pro year he won 14 games (14-13) in the California League of the minor leagues. By 1954 he won 14 games again (14-8) at A ball Albany. 

From there he was projected to be a starter with the Red Sox for 1956, but he was then drafted into the US Military. He spent two years there making it back to the big leagues fo two games in 1958.

In 1959 Casale led the Sox fifth place staff with 13 wins (13-8) posting a 4.31 ERA. His three shut outs were fourth best in the AL & his .619 winning % was tenth best. More famously he hit three HRs on the season batting .169 with nine RBIs. His HR against Russ Kemmerer & the Washington Senators is forever famous in Red Sox lore.

Quotes: Jerry Casale: "I believe I hit the longest home run ever by a Boston player. I hit it over the center field wall over the screen, under the flag. The ball left the park. It was a three-run homer and it happened in my first big league start." 

That season was his most successful, he fell to 2-9 the next year & began bouncing back & forth to the minor leagues.  In 1961 he was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the expansion draft going 1-5 with a 6.26 ERA, before he was traded to the Detroit Tigers in June.

 In 1962 he pitched in just 18 games 91-2) before going back to AA Denver where he was 4-2.

In 1963 Casale was given a chance by the New York Mets, he pitched at AAA Buffalo going 1-1 in 18 games but never made it to the big leagues. After that he retired & went into the restaurant business.

In a five year MLB career he went 17-24 with one save recorded. He struck out 207 batters, walked 204 in 370 innings pitched in 96 appearances.


Retirement: Jerry Casale opened up an Italian Restaurant on 34th St. in Manhattan right off Park Avenue, called Pino's. The restaurant enjoyed success for many years before closing its doors in 2003. Pino's was a haven for Red Sox fans visiting or living in New York. Red Sox players also frequented the place, even Ted Williams who was a team mate of Casale.


An entire wall of the establishment, had a mural of Fenway Park with a young Casale slamming a HR over the Green Monster. Casale would play a recording of his famous HR quite often & would hand out replica's of his 1960 baseball card as a business card. That card was displayed in the window near the menu as well.

Casale had a bout with prostate cancer & since that time has joined forces in an annual softball (Bat For the Cure) game raising money for the cause. Today Jerry lives in Seacacus, New Jersey.





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