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John Cangelosi

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John Anthony Cangelosi

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Standing just 5 feet 8 inches, speedster John Cangelosi played thirteen seasons in the majors and was the quintessential fifth outfielder, known for his speed (50 stolen bases as a rookie) and pinch hitting abilities. Despite a mediocre career .250 BA, Cangelosi compiled an outstanding 37 percent OBP.

Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1982 and signed by scout Walt Widmayer, Cangelosi made his pro debut that summer with the Niagara Falls Sox, finishing second in the New York-Penn League with 45 stolen bases. With the Appleton Foxes the following season, he led the Midwest League with 87 steals and made the circuit's All-Star team. He moved up to the AA level with the Glens Falls White Sox in 1984 and finished second in the Eastern League with 91 runs scored and 65 stolen bases. He spent the beginning of the 1985 season with the Mexico City Red Devils after being loaned to the club along with Manny Salinas for Nelson Barrera and hit .353 with 30 RBIs in 61 games for the club. He returned to the Sox organization later that summer, spending most of the year with the Buffalo Bisons but appearing in 5 contests in the majors with Chicago.

Cangelosi earned in invitation to Spring Training with the Sox in 1986 and won an Opening Day start in center field. He earned his first hit, a home run, off Ray Searage of the Milwaukee Brewers on April 9th, and from April 26th to May 26th, he was successful in 15 straight steal attempts. He ended the year with a .235 average and 2 homers and 50 steals, an American League rookie record at the time and second best in the AL that year behind Rickey Henderson's 87.

Cangelosi was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jim Winn before the 1987 season. He hit the first pinch-hit home run of his career against the Cincinnati Reds on August 18th and became the first Pirate to steal home in more than twenty years on September 15th. The next summer, he hit .286 as a pinch hitter for Pittsburgh, threw two scoreless innings of relief in a May 3rd game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and hit .331 in 37 games with Class AAA Buffalo. In 1989, he appeared in 112 games for the Pirates and led National League pinch hitters with 7 runs scored. He hit just .175 through June in 1990 and was sent back down to Buffalo, where he hit .348 in 24 games before returning to Pittsburgh later in the season.

After the 1990 season, Cangelosi became a free agent, and he signed with the White Sox organization in 1991. He began the year with the Vancouver Canadians of the Pacific Coast League before being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Esteban Beltre. The Brewers assigned him to the Denver Zephyrs, and he led the team with 26 steals. That fall, he was signed by the Texas Rangers, and he returned to the majors with the club in 1992. On April 8th, he hit a home run in his first at-bat with the Rangers, off pitcher Kevin Brown of the Seattle Mariners. After being released by Texas in July, he signed with the Detroit Tigers organization and spent the rest of the summer with the Toledo Mud Hens. Back with Toledo in 1993, he strung together a 20-game hitting streak from July 26th to August 18th, and he ended the year with 39 steals, third best in the International League.

Cangelosi was signed by the New York Mets following the 1993 campaign and appeared in 62 games for the club in 1994, hitting .263 as a pinch hitter. After being released by the Mets, he signed with the Houston Astros in early 1995. He began the season with the Tucson Toros and hit .368 in 30 games before being recalled by Houston in May. He spent the remainder of that summer and the entire next year with the Astros, and he swiped 3 bases and drove in 3 runs in a June 30, 1996 contest against the Mets.

Following the 1996 season, Cangelosi became a free agent and signed with the Florida Marlins. The Marlins won the wild card in his first year with the club, and he earned a start in left field in Game Three of the National League Championship Series. He also made three appearances in the World Series, as Florida defeated the Cleveland Indians. Overall, he took part in 7 postseason games that year, getting 2 hits in 10 at-bats. In 1998, back with the Marlins, he recorded 14 pinch hits in 104 games.

Cangelosi was signed by the White Sox organization again in 1999 but let go at the end of Spring Training. He then caught on with the Colorado Rockies, spending most of the year with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. He was recalled by the Rockies in September and earned his final big league hit, a double off Robinson Checo of the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 17th.

Cangelosi currently runs Cangelosi Baseball, a training facility in Lockport, Illinois, where his staff includes former big leaguer Dan Pasqua.

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