Former Italian / American MLB Player: Pretzel Pezzulo (1935 - 1936)

John "Pretzel" Pezzullo was born to an Italian American family, on December 10, 1910, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He was born into a family with five children. John left school after the 8th grade & went into the trade to learn cabinet making.

Nickname Pretzel: He earned the moniker Pretzel because of his strange twisty wind up & pitching delivery. He began the motion with a high leg kick then he would drop down with a side arm delivery, confusing the hitters.

Pezzullo started out in the New York Giants organization in 1934. He was part of a big trade that sent Dick Bartell to the Giants in exchange for Blondy Ryan, George Watkins & Johnny Vergez. 

In 1935 Pretzel started out the season with the Phillies, making his debut on Opening Day finishing off a 10-9 win over the Brooklyn Dodgers. 

On May 27th he made his first start, earning a win at Pittsburgh pitching into the 5th inning of a
4-2 win. Strangely the next day he made another start & took a loss.

On June 16th he pitched a complete game victory, although he gave up 13 hits & four runs to the Pirates. He earned another win in relief & was 3-1 before losing his next four decisions. He went 3-5 with a 6.40 ERA in 41 games for the seventh place Phillies. 

Pretzel was bit wild as well, walking 45 batters with hit seven hits by pitches (5th in the league) in just 84 innings of work.

The next season he only appeared in one game, walking six batters in two innings getting released in late June.

Pezzullo was back in the minors in 1937 with the Phillies & Giants organizations. In 1938 he won 26 games (26-9) in 47 appearances at Savannah in the South Atlantic League. He pitched in the minors again in 1940 & 1941.

Retirement: After baseball he settled in Dallas Texas where he designed aircraft missile models & founded Gulf Industries. 

Family: He & his wife Betty had a daughter named Patti.

Baseball Lore: Pretzel Pezzulo became legendary when he was named on the Baseball World of Joe Garagiola before the 1973 World Series between the Mets & A's. when Joe was talking about great baseball nicknames.

Passing: He passed away in 1990 at age 80 in DeSoto Texas.


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