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Ping Bodie

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Frank Stephen Bodie
born Francesco Stephano Pezzolo

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 8", Weight 195 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

PingBodie.jpg

Ping Bodie, who played nine seasons in the majors, was the first player in the history of the Pacific Coast League to hit 30 homers in a year, doing so in 1910.

Bodie joined the Tietjen and Long Drydock Company of New Jersey with New York Yankees teammates Ray Caldwell and Hank Thormahlen in 1918. Both the shipbuilding and steel industries had baseball teams and were considered "essential services", vital to the allied war effort. During World War I, a number of players joined such companies and were thus able to avoid the military draft. They had what were considered "soft jobs" and often earned $500 a week, representing their companies on the ball field.

His real name was probably Francesco Stephano Pezzolo, although his brother claimed that his original name was Franceto Sanguenitta Pizzola. He was called "Ping" from the sound of the ball coming off the bat, and was called Bodie either from the name of a town in which he had once lived, or from an uncle.

Born in San Francisco, CA he was one of the earliest of a long line of Italian players to come from the Bay Area.

He was a fun-loving guy who was usually the center of attention.

He started in the minors in the California League, and was with the San Francisco Seals in 1908 and also after 1914. After his major league career, from 1921 to 1928 he was back in the minors. His minor league batting average was .310 in 1787 games, with 203 home runs.

He was first up in the majors with the Chicago White Sox from 1911 to 1914. In the first three years, his batting average was above the American League average as averages in general plummeted, but in 1914 his .229 was not. He spent time in the minors till he came back in 1917 with the Philadelphia Athletics, having an excellent year hitting .291 with 11 triples and 7 home runs. Those 7 home runs were third in the league, and he was sixth in the league in slugging and RBI.

He spent the rest of his major league career with the New York Yankees, sometimes rooming with Babe Ruth. He was an average hitter from 1918 to 1920, but in 1921, when he slumped below .200, his major league days were over.

After baseball, Bodie developed a whole new career for over 30 years as an electrician and sometime actor in the movie industry in Hollywood. He liked to ham it up for fans who remembered him, saying things like "Give me the mace and I'll drive the pumpkin down Whitey Ford's throat."

He was portrayed by actor Frank Marrero in the 1992 movie "The Babe".

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