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Salvatore Varriale

From BR Bullpen

Salvatore Varriale

  • Bats Right, Throws Right

Biographical Information[edit]

Salvatore Varriale coached in the Olympics three times. Originally an outfielder when a player, he moved to first base over time.

Varriale spent several decades with Parma, arriving as a foreign import player in 1972. In 1972, he debuted as a right fielder, hitting .476/.569/1.017 with 10 homers and 37 RBI in just 15 games. The next year, he batted .339/.435/.612 with 13 home runs, 42 runs and 63 RBI in 41 contests. He set a new Serie A1 record for RBI in a season, breaking Giorgio Castelli's mark; Castelli would reclaim the record in 1973. It was the only time Varriale led the league in a Triple Crown category. He hit .370/.469/.704 with 9 runs and 8 RBI in 9 games for the Italian national team that won Silver at the 1973 European Championship, with 9 putouts in RF and CF. Of Italy's four game-winning RBI, he had two of them. He also played in the 1973 Intercontinental Cup.

Varriale batted .339/.427/.6241 for Parma in '74 with 14 homers, 43 runs and 52 RBI in 44 games. In 1975, he began playing first base primarily. He hit .327/.407/.449 with 55 runs in 56 games. He helped Italy win Gold in the 1975 European Championship, their first Gold ever in a European Championship in which the Netherlands also competed. He hit .300/.417/.450, splitting LF with Riccardo Spica and backing up Antonio Di Santo in RF. In '76, he batted .360/.460/.507 with 36 runs batted in during 40 contests.

Varriale slumped drastically in 1977, hitting under .230. He was still with Italy for the 1977 European Championship when they repeated as Gold Medal winners, hitting .250/.375/.600 while starting ahead of Giuseppe Carelli at 1B. He had 7 runs and 9 RBI in 7 games, tying Riccardo Landucci for third on the team in RBI. He was just 2 for 16 with three walks in the 1978 Amateur World Series, failing to score or drive in a run in his six games. In the 1978 Italian season, Sal produced at a .333/.433/.565 clip with 30 runs in 29 games.

In 1979, Varriale batted .311/.406/.504. He helped Italy win Gold at the 1979 European Championship, their third straight Gold at the Euros, their best run ever in the event (as of 2009). In that event, he was 3 for 10 with a double, 3 walks and four RBI as Italy's main DH as David DiMarco took over at 1B. Salvatore hit .315/.402/.532 for Parma during the 1980 season. It was his last season as a regular. From 1981-1984, he saw limited action in the field.

Overall, Sal hit .321/.408/.537 with 355 RBI in 370 games in Italy. He hit 72 homers in 1,338 AB. He had appeared in 59 games for the Italian national team.

Varriale became a coach and manager after retiring as a player. In 1985, he managed Parma to the pennant. He held the same role in '86. From 1988-2008, he coached for Parma, a period in which they won 9 titles. Varriale also coached for the national team several times, most notably in the 1996 Olympics, 2000 Olympics and 2004 Olympics.

In 2009, Parma retired Varriale's number 27. As of 2012, he was the Italy scout for the Cincinnati Reds; he signed Nicolò Pinazzi. In 2017, he was named a Knight of the Republic, Italy's highest ranking honor. He was inducted into the Italian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019.