Oct 27, 2014

Former Brooklyn Born Italian / American Player: Mike Fiore (1968-1972)

Michael Gary Joseph Fiore was born October 11th, 1944 in Brooklyn, New York. The six foot left handed hitter, played first base & outfield. Like so many Brooklyn born baseball players, Fiore attended Lafayette High School in the Bath Gate section.

The school has produced John Franco, Sandy Koufax, Pete Falcone, Ken & Bob Aspromonte, Al Ferrara, Luis Lopez & Kevin Baez.

Fiore was signed by the New York Mets in 1963, just the teams second year in existence. The new ball club was hungry for some home grown talent, and looking for another local kid like Eddie Kranepool.

But in 1963 he was drafted away by the Baltimore Orioles & spent six years in their minor league system. In 1968 he hit 19 HRs & batted .271 but wasn't going anywhere in the talented Orioles system. He played in six games at the MLB level, going 1-17 before getting drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 1968 expansion draft as the 17th pick.

He was the fourth place, Royals main first baseman in the club's inaugural season. Fiore hit the franchise's first ever HR, coming in the teams fifth game. It came in the 2nd inning off the A's Blue Moon Odom at Oakland. At the end of May he drove in runs in four straight games and had a big week with RBIs in eight of ten games.

That year Fiore led the team in walks (84) & on base % (.420%). He batted .274, second on the club to the AL Rookie of the Year; Lou Pinella. Fiore hit 12 HRs (third on the club to Ed Kirkpatrick & Bob Oliver) with 14 doubles & 35 RBIs. At first base he committed ten errors (third in the AL) making 94 assists (4th in the AL) with a .988 fielding %. Bob Oliver would take over at first base the next season & the outfield was filled with exciting young players like Pinella, Pat Kelly & Amos Otis acquired from the New York Mets.

The next year he struggled batting just .181 in May & was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Tommy Matchick. He became a reserve player batting under .200 the next two seasons. He would go to the St. Louis Cardinals & San Diego Padres in 1972 ending his once promising MLB career at age 28. He played in the minors through 1978 at AAA Columbus.

In five seasons he batted .227 with 13 HRs 18 doubles 50 RBIs & a .369 on base % in 254 games.

No comments: