Former Italian / American Player & TV Star For a Day: Buddy Biancalana (1982-1987)

Roland Americo Biancalana was born February 2, 1960 in Larkspur, California. The five foot eleven infielder, was the first round draft pick of the Kansas City (25th pick overall) in the 1978 draft.

The defensively solid shortstop five seasons in the minors, before having two cups of coffee with the Royals in 1982 & 1983. He saw action in 66 games in 1984, batting just .194 with two HRs & nine RBIs. His first career HR came in a 5-4 win over the Texas Rangers off pitcher Dave Stewart.

In the Royals 1985 Championship season, he started 35 games, seeing action in 81 games, behind Frank White & Onix Concepcion. He batted just.188 with one HR, five doubles & six RBIs.

Trivia: He became the subject of a joke on the David Letterman show, when Pete Rose was chasing Ty Cobb’s all time hit record. Letterman started a Biancalana hit countdown of his own calendar and eventually invited him on the show.

When he appeared on the Letterman show, he got his own laughs when he told Letterman, “I’m closer to Cobb, than you are to Carson”.

After the Royals won the Western Division title that year, manager Dick Howser made a choice to play Biancalana over regular short stop Onix Concepcion, who only was hitting .204 himself.

Post Season: Biancalana went on to play in every 1985 post season game for the World Champion Royals, playing an errorless solid defensive shortstop. In Game #6 of the ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays, he had a 6th inning RBI double driving home Jim Sundberg. He then scored on a Lonnie Smith double, on the way to a 5-3 victory. Overall he batted .222 (418) in the series.

In the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, he had two hits in the Royals Game #3 victory, driving in a run with a base hit. He added two more hits with an RBI, in the Royals Game #5 victory as well. In both games he also scored a run each time. Overall he hit .278 in the World Series with a .435 on base percentage.

The next season he shared short stop duties with Angel Salazar playing in 100 games batting .242. In July 1987 he was batting .213 when he was traded to the Houston Astros for Mel Stottlemyre Jr. In just 18 games with Houston he batted a poor .042.

He finished his career at the end of the season, with a .205 batting average, 113 hits which is over four thousand less than Cobb if Letterman is still counting. He hit six HRs with 16 doubles seven triples & a .261 on base %.

At short stop (243 games) he posted a .945 fielding % turning over 94 double plays.

Retirement: Since his playing days, he has managed in the minor leagues & was an infield coordinator for the Tampa Rays.


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