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Tony Cuccinello

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1939 Play Ball #61 Tony Cuccinello

Anthony Francis Cuccinello
(Cooch or Chick)

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[edit] Biographical Information

"He didn't have a real good arm and he had bad legs and wasn't real fast. But he could field the ball and knew how to handle himself out there." - Al Lopez

Tony Cuccinello played fifteen years in the majors and was a two-time National League All-Star second baseman during the 1930s.

The brother of Al Cuccinello, Tony began his pro career in 1926 and reached the majors on Opening Day 1930 as the Cincinnati Reds starting third baseman, hitting .312 as a rookie. The next summer, he hit a career-best .315. After two years with the Reds, he was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers and played in the first All-Star Game in 1933, striking out facing Lefty Grove to end the game. In 1934, he put up his best numbers at the plate, clubbing 14 homers and driving in 94 runs. While facing his brother Al's club, the New York Giants, on July 5th, 1935, both Cuccinellos homered in the same game.

Cuccinello was dealt to the Boston Braves following the 1935 campaign, and he was again an All-Star in 1938. Following a stint with the Giants in 1940, he was player/manager of the International League's Jersey City Giants in 1941. He was set to lead the club again the next year when he was released so he could sign with the Braves and continue his playing career.

After being released by the Braves in 1943, Cuccinello signed with the Chicago White Sox. In 1945, with rosters depleted by World War II, he became the club's regular third baseman and, at age 37, hit .308 and nearly won the American League batting title. Going into the season's final day, he had a .002 lead over Snuffy Stirnweiss of the New York Yankees. Stirnweiss went 3-for-3 to win the crown while Cuccinello sat idle as the Sox doubleheader was rained out. Yet, after the season, with many players returning from the war, the Sox released him, and he never played in the majors again.

Following his playing days, Cuccinello managed the Tampa Smokers in 1947 and was an Indianapolis Indians coach in 1948. After serving as a Cincinnati Reds coach from 1949 to 1951, he was on the staff of his close friend Al Lopez with the Cleveland Indians from 1952 to 1956. He followed Lopez to the White Sox from 1957 to 1966. After a stint on the Detroit Tigers coaching staff in 1967 and 1968, he ended his career as a White Sox coach, again under Lopez, in 1969.

In addition to his brother, Cuccinello was the uncle of Sam Mele.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 3-time All-Star (1933, 1938 & 1945)

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