Friday, February 28, 2020

Johnny Antonelli - RIP

I saw on Twitter tonight that Johnny Antonelli passed away at the age of 89. As I am probably one of the only Antonelli collectors outside of the immediate family, I felt like I should post something. My connection to Antonelli is tenuous, at best. But,we'll get to that in a minute.

Johnny Antonelli was one of the original  MLB bonus babies, players who signed a contract in excess of $4,000 in 1947 or later.  Such players had to be carried on the MLBroster for two years without being assigned to a minor league team. As such, Antonelli never played in the minors.  His 12 year MLB career, interrupted in 1951 and 1952 by military service, was highlighted by a stellar 1954 season that saw him go 21-7 with a 2,30 ERA during the regular season. It was further capped off by a spectacular World Series performance against the Cleveland Indians where NY Giant  Antonelli pitched an 8 hit, 1 run complete game victory in Game 2 (he also had an RBI on a 5th inning ground out off HOF pitcher Early Wynn).He followed that up with a 5 out save to secure the win in the decisive Game 4.  He finished 3rd in the MVP race that year, two years prior to the introduction of the Cy Young award, which he surely would have won. As I am not a gifted writer, you can read more about his life in the excellent SABR biograph found here.

So, how did I come to be a Johnny Antonelli collector? I've related this before here, deep in the archive, I grew up in Rochester, NY and lived there until I graduated from college in 1988. I knew of Antonelli because, during my formative years, he owned the main Firestone tire store franchises in the greater Rochester area.  How specifically I decide to PC him has been lost in the dusty recesses of my mind. However, as it stands, I have 65 unique Johnny Antonelli items in my player collection. If the Trading Card is to be believed, there are 81 unique Antonelli items.  The major items missing from my collection are the various Jay Publishing Photos, as well as the several Armour Coins.

In memory of the noteworthy Giants hurler, lets take a look at a few:

Rookie Cards

1949 Eureka Sport Stamp

 1950 Bowman

Last Cards Issued during his playing career

1961 Topps

1961 Post

1961Kahns Wieners

Last Card issued overall

2011 Topps Lineage (Base, Black Diamond, and Autographed)

Cards Issued After his best year (1954)

1955 Bowman

1955 Red man

1955 Golden Stamps

Oddest Oddballs

2010 National Ethnic Heritage Foundation Sons of Italy

A Baseball Memoir Promotional Card

1984 National Sports Collector Convention Ticket

Personal Favorites

1954 NY Journal American

1953 Johnston Cookies

1954 Topps

1958 Hires Root Beer(with tab)

Banty Red Custom

What I am listening to: Temporary Nature by Lucinda Williams


  1. I have a number of his cards, but they're not a collection -- his cards always seemed to be cheap back when I was buying pretty much all things old, so I ended up with a number of them. I never realized how good his '54 season was, but I guess that's what happens when you don't read up on someone.

  2. Antonelli was from Rochester, I believe. I remember walking past his tire dealership in Endicott, N.Y., when I was young.

    Fun fact (or not-so-fun): Dinged Corners' final blog post before it disappeared was about meeting Antonelli.

    1. You are correct. I worded that poorly. He was born, raised, and lived his non-playing days in Rochester.

  3. Sorry to hear about his passing. At least at the age of 89, he was able to live a long life. Your collection of Antonelli is pretty darn awesome. I'm especially fond of the Red Man and Post cards.

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