At a recent Collectorfest, a monthly card show, two nice Italian boys showed up:
Joe Altobelli is Mr. Rochester Red Wings, having served in one capacity or another for the team (now the Minnesota Twins Triple-A affiliate), was also the manager of the Orioles the last time they won the World Series in 1983. Mr. Altobelli was the first-year manager of the Orioles, and lasted two more years, but didn't win another World Series.
Johnny Antonelli was a big-time pitcher for the New York Giants who won 21 games in 1954, culminating with a victory in Game 2 of the 1954 World Series against my beloved Cleveland Indians. His stat line for that game is interesting:
Eight hits and six walks in nine innings, but only letting up one home run to Al Smith leading off the game. Another nail in the coffin of the Indians.
Both were very gracious and signed hundreds of autographs for $5 apiece, all going to The Wilmot Cancer Center. I was more than happy to wait for two autographs each and to chat for a minute with them. The two of them started discussing their favorite restaurants in Cleveland (which I doubt was still there when I grew up in Cleveland), although Mr. Antonelli did mention his affinity for Little Italy on Mayfield Hill in Cleveland. They both commented on what a thrill it was to win a World Series, and Mr. Antonelli had his 1954 World Champion ring on.
Johnny Antonelli still has a thick Italian accent, which I really enjoyed listening to.