Johnny Antonelli, a former World Series hero and the best pitcher on the first San Francisco Giants team, passed away on Friday. He was 89.
The six-time National League All-Star and two-time 20-game winning left-hander died in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y.
“The news today of the passing of Johnny Antonelli brings great sadness to our organization,” said Giants president and CEO Larry Baer. “Johnny was one of the all-time great Giants and was part of our rich history in the 1950s. He enjoyed visiting Oracle Park for alumni reunions and other events and I’m thankful for the laughs we shared over the years.”
Antonelli helped the New York Giants win the 1954 World Series, striking out nine in a Game 2 complete-game win before saving their Game 4 win over the Indians for a sweep. Antonelli went 1-0 with a 0.84 ERA in the series to cap off his greatest season — he went 21-7 while leading the National League with a 2.30 ERA.
Antonelli was still the team’s ace after the Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958 — he had a team-leading 16 victories while posting a team-low 3.28 ERA for the third-place Giants.
He finished his Giants career with a record of 108-84 and a 3.13 ERA in 280 games (219 starts) during his seven years. After being traded to Cleveland in 1961 before finishing the season in Milwaukee. He retired before the 1962 season because he was “tired of traveling” and wanted to be home in Rochester with his family.
“Major League Baseball mourns Johnny Antonelli, a fine pitcher and by all accounts an even better man,” baseball historian John Thorn wrote in an email to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.