September 30 – Happy Birthday Andy DeAngelo

deangelo222Andy DeAngelo came to Amsterdam, NY to get closer to his dream of becoming a big league pitcher for the New York Yankees. When he left the Rug City however, he would never again throw a pitch in a professional baseball game. Despite that, he did discover something in this community that would make the rest of his life even more worthwhile.

The Yankees had signed the New Haven, Connecticut native out of high school in 1949 and assigned the six-foot two inch right handed hurler to their class D farm team in Easton, PA. He put together an impressive first season of professional ball, winning ten of fifteen decisions. When he got the news he was being promoted to Amsterdam for the 1950 season, DeAngelo was looking forward to pitching for Rugmaker manager, Mayo Smith. Unfortunately for DeAngelo, that season’s Rugmaker team was blessed with plenty of starting pitching so if somebody in the rotation hit a slump or came down with an injury, their job was in jeopardy. DeAngelo suffered both. He appeared in just nine games that season partly because he hurt his back and partly because his control deserted him. He was averaging one walk per inning pitched.

Probably because of that strong first season at Easton, the Yanks kept him in Amsterdam in 1951 instead of demoting or releasing him. The patience did not work. Though he finished the season with a 4-3 record, his walks per inning ratio increased dramatically as did his ERA, which skyrocketed to over seven runs per nine innings pitched.

Jean DeSorbo DeAngelo
Jean DeSorbo DeAngelo

There would be no third chance for DeAngelo with the Rugmakers and not just because he had pitched poorly in his first two. Both the franchise and the Canadian American League folded after the 1951 season. Even if that wasn’t the case, DeAngelo was called into military service in 1952. The Korean War was raging by then and DeAngelo would be sent into action in the conflict and come back home as a US Army Sergeant. When he returned from service he got married to the love of his life. Andy’s mom was a Fasulo who was related to the Fasulo’s who lived on Amsterdam’s South Side. They introduced him to a young lady who worked in the Amsterdam branch of the New York State Employment office and lived on Florida Avenue. Her name was Jean DeSorbo and she became the first and I believe only Amsterdam woman to marry one of the Rugmakers’ minor league ballplayers. The marriage took place in June of 1954 in Mount Carmel Church. The couple honeymooned in Washington DC and then….

The rest of my birthday post for Andy will appear in the new second edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam, NY Birthdays, which will be available before the 2016 Holiday season. I also distribute an Amsterdam, NY Birthday Blog Monthly Newsletter that includes the full birthday posts for three of the twenty-to-thirty  people whose birthdays I recognize each month. Each newsletter also includes an Amsterdam Birthday Quiz that will test your knowledge and memory of people and events in your hometown.

The monthly newsletter is free. If you’d like to receive it, just make sure your name and e-mail address are included on this list.



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