Leo Cristante

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Dante Leo Cristante

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Leo Cristante signed as an amateur free agent with the Philadelphia Phillies prior to the 1947 season. He was assigned to the Terre Haute Phillies of the Class B Three I League where he went 4-1 with a 1.85 ERA. With the Class A Utica Blue Sox in 1948, he went 11-9 with a 3.65 ERA. It took Leo five years in the minors before the Phillies gave him a look in 1951. He appeared in ten games, finishing 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA, and spent the rest of the season with the Baltimore Orioles of the International League, dropping to a 4-8 record and 4.75 ERA.

On October 15, 1952, Leo was purchased by the Milwaukee Braves. He spent 1953 in the Southern Association with the Atlanta Crackers, where he went 14-10 with a 3.31 ERA. He was back in 1954 with his best year, going 24-7 (leading the SA in wins) with a 3.59 ERA and was the starting pitcher for the All-Star Team. Leo was purchased by the Chicago White Sox in September and, on December 6, was traded with Ferris Fain and Jack Phillips to the Detroit Tigers for Bob Nieman, Walt Dropo and Ted Gray. It was fitting that his hometown team, the Tigers, gave Leo his second and last shot at the bigs. He appeared in 20 games in 1955, pitching 37 innings with an 0-1, 3.19 mark. He finished with a career 1-2, 3.84 record in 30 games.

Cristante still had some good pitching left in him. He spent the next four seasons (1956-1959) in the high minors, ending his career with the 1959 Atlanta Crackers. His minor league worksheet shows that he appeared in 383 contests, going 111-92 while pitching 1,742 innings with a career 3.77 ERA. He died on August 24, 1977, at 50 in Dearborn, MI.


Baseball Players of the 1950s
SABR MILB Database:page

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