Joe Lovitto

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Joseph Lovitto Jr.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Joe Lovitto played four seasons for the Texas Rangers, serving as the regular center fielder in 1972 and 1974.

Lovitto was the #2 pick in the first round of the January 1969 amateur draft, by the Washington Senators. He moved his way up the minors, most notably hitting over .300 at two stops in 1971, the Pittsfield Senators and Denver Bears. He made his major league debut in April of 1972, the first season after the Senators had relocated and become the Rangers, and started in center field on Opening Day. As a rookie, Lovitto's manager on the 1972 Rangers was Ted Williams, who was in his last season on the job. Lovitto was the same age as starting pitcher Don Stanhouse. He hit .224, but the team average was even lower at .217.

He struggled at the major league level in 1973 and spent much of the season at Spokane, where he hit .279. In 1974 he came back to the Rangers as the regular center fielder under manager Billy Martin, and had two new mates in the outfield - left fielder Alex Johnson and right fielder Jeff Burroughs. In 1975 Lovitto played some center and some left, as the center field position was manned by quite a few players: Len Randle had 473 innings there, Dave Moates played 398 innings, the 35-year-old Willie Davis was there for 350 innings before being traded and Lovitto had 174 innings there.

After the 1975 season, he was traded to the New York Mets but they released him in March 1976. He was still only 25 but done with major league baseball.

He fought cancer for seven years before dying in 2001.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Charlie Grassl: "Joe Lovitto", in Steve West and Bill Nowlin, eds.: The Team That Couldn't Hit: The 1972 Texas Rangers, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2019, pp. 146-149. ISBN 978-1-943816-93-4

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