John Cangelosi: 1990's Italian/American Brooklyn Born Mets Player (1994)

John Anthony Cangelosi was born on March 10, 1963, in Brooklyn, New York. The five-foot eight-inch, switch hitting Italian American, played hard to make up for his short size.

After attending Miami Dade Community College, he was signed by the Chicago White Sox in 1982. At A-ball Appleton he stole 87 bases in the Mid-Western League, making the All-Star team there getting promoted quickly to AA. At AA Glen Falls, he hit .287 & was second in the league in stolen bases (65) & runs scored (91). 

MLB Debut: On June 30th, Cangelosi made his debut going 0-2 in a 4-3 loss to the Twins. He played in five games with the White Sox before going back down. 

In 1986 he was the surprise of the White Sox Spring Training camp, taking the centerfield job away from future Met Daryl Boston & Rudy Law who was the next candidate. 

Cangelosi played in 135 games that year, only hitting .235 but he stole 50 bases (second most in the AL). John walked 71 times with a .341 on base %, hit 16 doubles & drove in a career high 32 runs. 

The next season he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jim Winn. In 1987 in the Steel City, he raised his average to .275 & stole 21 bases. 
On a Pirates team with Bobby Bonilla, Barry Bonds & Andy Van Slyke, Cangelosi posted a team best .427 on base % for Jim Leyland's fourth place Pirates. 

John spent four seasons in Pittsburgh (1988-1990) winning an NL Eastern title there in 1990 but only hit .197 in 58 games & finished the season as AAA Buffalo. 

In 1991 he played for future Mets manager, Terry Collins at AAA Buffalo. Collins says Cangelosi didn't come to the minors & pout about not being in the big leagues. Instead, he broke his butt & led his team by example. Terry Collins would remember him when he managed the Houston Astros.

In 1992 Cangelosi signed with the Texas Rangers batting .188 in 73 games. 

Mets Career:  For 1994 Cangelosi signed with the New York Mets as a free agent, getting a chance to return home to the New York City area.

Cangelosi began the year as reserve outfielder & was used as a pinch hitter & pinch runner for manager Dallas Green. 

He debuted in the second game of the season, as a pinch hitter going 0-1 in a 6-2 Mets win over Houston.

On April 14th, he got a pinch hit single, stayed in the game later drawing a walk & scoring two runs. In April, Cangelosi 2-6 as a pinch hitter & batted .350 in the month. 

Four Hit Game: On May 10th, in Montreal, he had a four-hit game driving in a pair of runs with two RBI singles, leading the Mets to a 3-2 win. 

That month he had 14 hits seeing the most action of the season, playing all outfield positions in 23 games. 

Brawl with The Braves: On May 14th, in a game against the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium, Cangelosi got plunked by Atlanta pitcher John Smoltz. The pitch came after the Mets' Ryan Thompson had just hit a grand slam HR & took his time rounding the bases.

Cangelosi immediately charged the mound only to get tackled from behind by (former Met) catcher Charlie O’Brien. 

It was the first time Cangelosi had ever charged a mound in his career. But there was also a past history between the two, as Smoltz had hit Cangelosi with a pitch earlier in the year. 

Quotes- John Cangelosi: “Obviously, Ryan Thompson hit a grand slam and he was frustrated. We were hitting him pretty good today. But just because someone's hitting you and you're not doing your job, that doesn't mean you should hit somebody else." 

The brawl received national attention, getting the cover of Sports Illustrated that summer.

At the start of July Cangelosi was sent back down to the minors by manager Dallas Green. He refused the assignment because he felt Green would never bring him back up. The Mets released him a few days later.

For the 1994 Mets he played in 62 games batting .252 with five stolen bases which were enough to lead the slow-footed team. He had 28 hits, with 4 doubles 4 RBIs & a .371 on base %. 

Post Mets Career: After the baseball strike, Terry Collins was manager of the Houston Astros & convinced them to sign Cangelosi. 

He played in the minors for a couple of weeks then was promoted to the big-league club. 
He credits Terry Collins for giving him a chance, playing him & not letting him sit on the bench. Cangelosi played two seasons with Houston, as the team finished in second place both years under Collins. 

In the 1995 season he stole 21 bases in Houston, batting a career high .318 playing in 90 games. In 1996 he stole 17 bases & hit 11 doubles playing in 108 games as a backup outfielder. He spent three years in Houston batting .287 stealing 38 bases in 198 games.

After that season, he moved on to the Florida Marlins for two seasons. He would play in 103 games as a utility player for the 1997 World Champion Marlins, batting .245.

First Marlin Position Player to Pitch: In July of 1997 he became the first Marlins position player to pitch in a game. In his career he would make three pitching appearances, never allowing a run in four innings pitched.

1997 Post Season: In the NLDS he went 0-1 in the win over the Giants. In the NLCS win over the Braves he got into three games, going 1-5 with a pinch hit single off Denny Neagle in Game #4. 

1997 World Series: In the World Series win over the Cleveland Indians, he played in three games. In Game #6 he got a 7th pinch hit single off Michael Jackson in the 4-1 loss.

In 1999 he played his final season with the Colorado Rockies, his seventh MLB team.

Retirement: In his 13-year career he batted .250 with 501 hits 12 HRs 73 doubles 15 triples 328 runs scored & 134 RBIs. He stole 154 stolen bases, struck out 322 times with 358 walks, a .370 on base % & .690 OPS.

He played 617 games at all outfield positions & pitched in three games.

Retirement: After his playing days he started the successful Cangelosi Baseball Academy, which he runs inside the Bo Jackson Elite Sports Dome in the Chicago area.

Family: John & his wife Julie have five children. They reside in Illionois.


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