Former Italian / American Pitcher Turned Broadcaster: Tom Candiotti (1983-1999)

Thomas Caesar Candiotti was born August 31, 1957 in Walnut Creek, California. The six foot three right hander was a knuckle ball pitcher that would pitch 16 seasons in the major leagues.

He was originally drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1980 but was claimed in the Rule 5 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. An injury had him miss the entire 1982 season.

He debuted in August of 1983 making a relief appearance against his old Royals team. On August 17th he made his first start & pitched a complete game victory over the Boston Red Sox. He won his first four games & then lost his next four, going 4-4 with a 3.23 ERA in his first season. 

After two seasons in Milwaukee he was traded to the Cleveland Indians. In 1986 he had a breakthrough season, leading the league with 17 complete games, posting a 16-12 (9th most wins in the AL) record with 167 strike outs a 3.57 ERA (10th in the AL) .

He had an off season the next year losing 18 games, for the Indians team that lost 101. Candiotti then went on to win 13 games or more for the next four years. In 1992 he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a free agent, and spent the next seven years in their rotation.

In 1992 he had the second best ERA in the league at 2.65, but lost a league leading 15 games. He then posted four losing seasons in five years, going 7-7 in 1994 for a .500 season. In 1996 he made one relief appearance in the NLDS loss to the Atlanta Braves.

In the final year of his contract he went 10-7 & that off season signed on with Oakland Athletics. In 1998 Candiotti once again led the league in losses, going 11-16 and then retired after the 1999 season at age 42.

Candiotti was a better pitcher than his stats show, he was a work horse who put in a lot of innings with quality starts & low earned run averages. His knuckle ball gave him longevity, pitching over 200 innings nine times, giving him 2725 over his 16 year career.

He went 151-164 with a 3.73 ERA in 410 starts (111th all time) in 451 games. He struck out 1735 (108th all time) including five seasons of 140 or more. He threw 68 complete games & 11 shut outs, walked 883 (172nd all time) & allowed 250 HRs (107th all time).

Retirement: Candiotti is an accomplished bowler averaging over 200 in Arizona Bowling leagues. He has earned himself a spot in the Bowling Hall of Fame in St. Louis & is only the second pro athlete to be inducted.

After baseball he worked as a special assistant to the GM in Cleveland, then went in to broadcasting. He did games for ESPN, worked on Baseball Tonight & covered the Little League World Series. He is currently a broadcaster for Arizona Diamondbacks games.

His ex-wife Donna, is a successful realtor & did a tell all interview about being a baseball wife, that can be found on line. 


I have forwarded this story along to the Museum of American Italian Heritage in Albany New York where stories about the achievements of Italian American are archived. Great write up. Thanks! Grazie!

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