From BR Bullpen
Giovanni Mario Costa
- Bats Right, Throws Right
Gianmario Costa played for the Italian national team in their 13 major events in the 1980s and never played for the squad in the 70s or 90s. Cuban legend Omar Linares played opposite Costa several times and described him as a "strong" player.
Costa made his debut in Italy's top circuit in 1979 at age 19. Playing for Torino, he hit .290/.333/.348 with 40 runs in 34 games while fielding just under .900 at third base. In 1980, he hit .340/.367/.421 for Torino. He debuted for Italy in the 1980 Amateur World Series.
Giovanni batted .347/.386/.508 for Torino in '81. He helped Italy win a Silver Medal at the 1981 European Championship, hitting .345/.406/.414 with 7 runs and 8 RBI in 9 games. He played 5 games at both LF (where he was Italy's most-used player) at 3B (where he split time with John Guggiana). In 1982, he hit .316/.375/.393 and was in the 1982 Amateur World Series. During the 1983 campaign, Costa batted .368/.417/.484 with 45 runs in 41 games and 20 steals in 27 tries for Grosseto, his new club. He was on the Italian team that won Gold at the 1983 European Championship, hitting only .172/.250/.276 and fielding .874 as their starting second baseman; he was the lightest-hitting starter for Italy.
Gianmario hit .309/.343/.366 for Grosseto in 1984. He played in the 1984 Amateur World Series (.179/.233/.214) and 1984 Olympics. In '85, he batted .332/.388/.335 with 68 runs in 67 games. He appeared in the 1985 European Championship as the Azzuri took Silver, batting .438/.500/.500 with 8 runs in 9 games and 3 steals in 3 tries. He was their starting left fielder and backed up Ruggero Bagialemani at 3B. He tied Marco Mazzieri for the team lead in steals. In 1986, he hit .326/.393/.493 with 24 doubles and 49 runs in 47 contests. He played in the 1986 Amateur World Series.
In '87, Costa produced at a .358/.443/.406. He helped Italy win Silver at the 1987 European Championship (going 5 for 11 with a double, four walks, steal, 7 runs and four RBI as the backup to Bagialemani at 3B) and was in the 1987 Intercontinental Cup. In the 1988 campaign, he hit .355/.470/.476 and scored 56 times in 42 contests. He was 2 for 16 in the 1988 Baseball World Cup, splitting third base duties with Bagialemani.
Giovanni Mario hit .351/.450/.439 with 42 runs in 42 games for Grosseto in '89. He was in the 1989 Intercontinental Cup and won Gold with Italy at the 1989 European Championship, hitting .344/.417/.500 with 8 runs and 10 RBI in 9 games, fielding .893 at 3B. In 1990, he hit .321/.407/.400 and scored 62 runs in 57 games. He batted .371/.451/.497 for Calze Verdi Bo in '91. He produced at a .329/.424/.414 rate for Bologna in 1992, with 37 runs in 36 games at age 32.
Costa's batting line in 1993 was .345/.409/.412 and he fielded .969 at the hot corner, his best yet. In '95, he hit .299/.378/.366 for Torino, followed by .354/.449/.471 in 1996 and .296/?/.359 in 1997, his finale.
Overall, Costa hit .338/.398/.423 in 879 games in Italy, with 828 runs. As of 2009, Costa ranked 7th in Italy in career hits (1,232) and 6th in runs. He was 10th in games played for the Italian national team (103).