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Harry Chiti

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Harry Chiti

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[edit] Biographical Information

On June 29, 1950 Harry Chiti was signed by the Chicago Cubs as an amateur free agent and became the youngest player in the National League when he made it into three games at the end of the season at age 17. After a couple more stays in Chicago while still a teenager and two years in the United States Army, he became a semi-regular behind the plate in Wrigley Field in 1955 before being traded to the New York Yankees for veteran backup receiver Charlie Silvera after the 1956 season.

But Harry never made it into pinstripes and was drafted from the Yankees by the Kansas City Athletics in the 1957 Rule V Draft. After hitting in the .270 range for two seasons in Kansas City in 1958 and 1959, he was sold to the Detroit Tigers on July 26, 1960. He was with the Tigers until July 21, 1961, did not play up to their expectations, and was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Frank House.

The Orioles sent him to the Rochester Red Wings, their International League farm club and he hit .326 in 46 games. Baltimore then traded him, along with Ray Barker and Art Kay, to the Cleveland Indians for Johnny Temple. On April 26, 1962 Harry was purchased by the New York Mets from the Indians.

Chiti appeared in 15 games for the Mets, hitting .195 and was returned to the Indians in another cash transaction. People would claim for decades later that Chiti was traded for himself as a player to be named later, although the record does not bear this out. This finished out his ten-season major league run. Harry appeared in 502 games, ending up with a career .238 batting average.

Harry spent the next two seasons in the International League and retired after the 1964 season with 13 active years in pro baseball. His minor league sheet shows he appeared in 608 games and had a career .271 batting average.

Chiti retired from baseball at age 30 to work as a district manager for Columbia Pictures, placing films in theaters. In the early 1970s he became a bailiff in the Shelby County, Tennessee courthouse, before retiring in Winter Haven, FL. He died on January 31, 2002, at age 69 in Haines City, FL.

Harry's son Dom Chiti was a minor league pitcher who remained in the game as a major league coach.

[edit] Sources

Baseball-Reference.com
Baseball Players of the 1950s
SABR MILB Database:page

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