Ed Abbaticchio

From BR Bullpen


Edward James Abbaticchio

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 170 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Ed Abbaticchio was the first known Italian American to play Major League Baseball. He was also the precursor to Bo Jackson, the first man to play both baseball and football professionally. Abbaticchio was the fullback and kicker for Latrobe, the first pro football team in America, between 1895 and 1900, where he is attributed with inventing the spiral punt.

It was well known during his career that Abbaticchio was independently wealthy, and played baseball for love, not money. In his "missing" 1906 season, Abbaticchio was not injured or cut - he merely elected instead that year to manage a Pittsburgh hotel that he owned. A possibly apocryphal tale said that he had been given the hotel by his father on the condition that he renounce baseball. He was a fair player during his nine seasons, leading the NL in at bats (610) with the Boston Beaneaters in 1905, a season he batted .279 with 12 triples and 25 doubles.

An urban legend of the 1908 season for the Pittsburgh Pirates had Ed belting a fan with a ball called foul by umpire Hank O'Day against the Chicago Cubs on October 4th. The ball, according to the legend, struck a female patron who filed a lawsuit and whose ticket had her squarely in fair territory, meaning O'Day had bungled the call. The Pirates did, in fact, protest the call as the ball being called fair could have led to a tie game and put the Bucs in the pennant conversation, negating the Merkle affair, but their protests fell on deaf ears. The lawsuit, meanwhile, was a bunch of phony baloney.

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