Dec 20, 2014

Former Italian / American Pitcher: John D'Aquisto (1973-1982)

John Francis D'Acquisto was born December 23, 1951 in the Little Italy section of San Diego, California. The tall six foot two right hander, was a first round draft pick for the San Francisco Giants in 1970, the 17th pick overall.

By 1972 he was a seventeen game winner at A ball Fresno & followed up with a 16-12 year in the Pacific Coast League at AAA Phoenix. That year he made a brief seven game debut in the majors in September 1973.

In 1974 he rose on the scene with his blazing fastball. It was said to he had registered the next best fast ball after Nolan Ryan's 104 mph on the radar gun in the mid seventies.

On April 8th he was brought in to pitch in relief in the 7th inning at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati in a scoreless game. He faced off against Johnny Bench with a 3-1 count and two on. He struck out Bench, eventually earned the win and secured his spot on the Giants roster.

After a tough early May road trip where he lost three games, he regrouped. On May 25th he struck out eight Dodgers in three innings of relief and earned a starting job. He then won seven of nine decisions and became one of the Giants best pitchers. On September 6th he pitched a four hit shutout in Atlanta beating Carl Morton & the Braves 2-0.

In that 1974 season he won the NL Rookie Pitcher of the Year Award, and the Sporting News Rookie of the Year Award, going 12-14 with a 3.77 ERA, striking out 167 batters (10th in the NL) with 215 innings pitched. He was 4th in the league with his strikeout to walk ratio, and his 36 starts were ninth best.

He did allow a lot of walks (124) second most in the league, and hit six batters with pitches. At the plate he hit a HR and drove in three runs while batting .113 for the ffith place Giants.

With a career looking bright, he suffered a big blow when he needed elbow surgery in 1975 ruining his career. In October 1976 got traded to the St Louis Cardinals along with Mike Cauldwell and Dave Radar for Willie Crawford, John Curtis & Vic Harris. As soon as the season started he was sent to his hometown of San Diego in exchange for former Rookie of the Year pitcher Butch Metzger.

D'Acquisto made a good comeback in 1978 going 4-3 with ten saves and a 2.13 ERA, now out of the Padres bullpen. In 45 games he struck out 104 batters in only 93 innings pitched, as his fastball was smoking again. The next season the Padres put him back in a starting role, but it didn’t work out. Although he won nine games he lost thirteen and posted a 4.92 ERA.

He pitched for three more seasons with the Montreal Expos (1980), California Angles- six games (1981) & Oakland Athletics (1982). He finished his ten year career at 34-51 with 15 saves and a 3.56 ERA. He struck out 600 batters walking 544 in 779 innings in 266 games.

Retirement: After baseball he became a big time investment banker. In 1996 he was sentenced to prison for 39 accounts of defrauding investors of seven million dollars. The charges included illegal money wiring and laundering.

In 2002 it was proven that he was set up to cover up the bigger investment thieves. He was released from prison and his name cleared, as 37 accounts of the charges were dropped. He went on to earn a degree and win awards in Physiology.

He also earned a PH.D and is a regional director for Sorganics/Ocean Solutions.

His cousin Lou Morrone pitched in 29 games for the 1969 Pirates.

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