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Manuel Gasparri

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Manuel Gasparri

  • Bats Right, Throws Right

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Biographical Information[edit]

Manuel Gasparri played 18 seasons in Italy and made the Italian national team several times.

He debuted in 1994 with his hometown Grosseto club, hitting .220/.265/.268 as a backup catcher to Alessandro Bianchi. He became their starter in 1995, hitting .236/.287/.298 while throwing out 38.5% of those who tried to steal. He was 7 for 15 with 3 doubles, 4 runs, 6 RBI and 4 walks in five games in the semifinals. He improved his offense in 1996 (.284/.351/.374) and threw out 32.7% of would-be base-thieves. In 1997, he blossomed, producing at a .376/.442/.513 clip with 15 doubles, 34 runs and 47 RBI in 51 games though his defense was off (.944 FLD%, 24% CS). [1]

Gasparri was 2 for 7 with a RBI for Italy in the 1997 Intercontinental Cup, splitting catching with Pierpaolo Illuminati. [2] He was 0 for 2 with a run when Italy won the 1997 European Championship, backing up both Illuminati and Luigi Carrozza. He hit .308/.369/.527 with 38 RBI in 39 games in the 1998 Serie A1, fielding .994. In the semifinals, he went 2 for 10 with 3 walks. In 1999, his batting line for Grosseto read .286/.366/.444 with 24 RBI in 37 games. He was 3 for 22 with two walks in the semifinals. In the 1999 European Championship, he led the round-robin phase with 8 RBI and finished at .321/.400/.607 with 8 runs and 10 RBI in 8 games, starting at C for Italy and also playing some DH. He finished second on Italy in RBI, two behind Andrea Castri, and they won the Silver Medal. Andrei Selivanov was named the All-Star catcher instead. [3]

He faded to .239/.299/.274 on offense in 2000 then was 5 for 12 with a homer and 5 RBI in four semifinals games. He fielded .991 and threw out 42.9% on the bases in the regular season, again showing strong defense. He caught 39.1% in the 2001 Serie A1, when his offense rebounded (.319/.365/.407, 30 RBI in 48 G). He was 2 for 14 in the semifinals.

He appeared for Italy in the 2001 European Championship, when they won Bronze. He was 0 for 4 with a run as the third-string catcher behind Matteo Baldacci and Elio Gambuti. He hit .297/.356/.354 for Grosseto in the 2002 Serie A1 and .350/.409/.450 with 5 RBI in 5 games in the semifinals but again Grosseto fell in that round. He caught 36.4% of those who tried to steal in the regular season. In 2003, he produced at a .305/.335/.430 clip and caught 56.2% of base-runners, fielding .992. He hit .211/.250/.211 in the semifinals. He won the Gold Glove at catcher. He moved to Rajo Rho in 2004 but hit only .216/.275/.255 while splitting time between C and 1B (the team also had Panamanian national team member Carlos Muñoz at catcher).

In 2005, the 31-year-old switched clubs again, joining Nettuno and hitting .281/.338/.354 with 30 RBI in 52 games, fielding .989. He tied for 10th in the league in RBI. He was 2 for 11 with a double in the semifinals. In 2006, he produced at a .287/.359/.380 clip and fielded .995, with 30% caught stealing. He was 2 for 14 with 2 walks and a double in the semifinals. He was named the league's All-Star catcher. During 2007, he played for his fourth team, Bologna. He hit .231/.298/.294 and was 0 for 4 with a walk in the semifinals. His arm was not up to past standards as he only caught 14.8% on the bases.

For Bologna in 2008, he hit .281/.356/.449 in the regular season and .208/.269/.250 in the postseason. Juan Pablo Angrisano displaced him at catcher, but he was seeing regular action at DH. He returned to Nettuno in 2009, hitting .190/.248/.248 while splitting catching with Dewis Navarro. He batted .250/.286/.250 in the first round of the 2009 European Cup. In the final four, he was 2 for 8 but one of his hits was a huge one. In the championship game, his single off Yulman Ribeiro scored Giuseppe Mazzanti with the only run in a 1-0 win over his old Bologna club to give Nettuno the title. [4]

In 2010, he was on the move again, now with Parma. He hit .274/.352/.349 with 20 RBI in 32 games in the regular season, backing up Riccardo Bertagnon at catcher and again playing DH often. He hit .243/.263/.351 with 7 RBI in 9 semifinals games. After so many semifinals trips, he finally made it to the Italian Series at age 36. He hit .154/.185/.192 in the 2010 Italian Series. He doubled in Juan Camilo with Parma's first run of the Series, though, and they won the title. He returned to his original club, Grosseto, in 2011, and hit .227/.313/.277 to end his career.

He had batted .271/.334/.360 with 305 runs, 439 RBI, 144 doubles and 26 homers in 798 games in Italy's top league. He fielded .983 at C and caught 29.8% of attempted stealers. He also pitched six games in his career, with a 8.53 ERA. Through 2015, he was 28th in Italian history in games played (between Paolo Catanzani and Marco Ubani), 42nd in hits (752, between Giovanni Pantaleoni and Andrea Evangelisti) and tied for 39th in doubles (even with Francesco Petruzzelli).

Sources[edit]

  1. Italian Baseball and Softball Federation; this is the source for all Italian league stats here
  2. Defunct IBAF site
  3. International statistician Harry Wedemeijer as well as Italian Baseball and Softball Federation
  4. Confederation of European Baseball