Al Cihocki

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Albert Joseph Cihocki

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Biographical Information[edit]

Infielder Al Cihocki played his first season of professional baseball in 1942 as an 18-year-old third baseman with the Batavia Clippers of the class D PONY League. Cihocki had a very good first year, appearing in 98 games, picking up 128 hits that included 7 home runs and hit at a .342 average. All this good work put him at the hot corner on the All-Star team.

Cihocki put his baseball career on hold and joined the United States Coast Guard, serving at the Curtis Point Naval Station in Maryland, for the next two years (1943-1944), during World War II. He was given a medical discharge from the service at the the start of 1945 and joined the roster-slim Cleveland Indians for the 1945 season. The third baseman was turned into a utility infielder by the Indians and appeared in 92 contests, had 283 at-bats with 60 base hits, 24 RBI and a .212 average. He also came up with a solid .955 fielding percentage for the year, playing all infield spots with the exception of first base. This was Al's only shot at the major leagues.

Al joined up with the Baltimore Orioles of the International League and would spend the next seven seasons (1946-1952) with the club, hitting a high of .280 in 1950 and coming in at a low of .235 the following year. Al spent four more active seasons in baseball with the San Antonio Missions of the AA Texas League in 1953 and the class A Wilkes-Barre Barons in 1954.

Al was out of baseball in 1955 and 1956, but returned for a season in 1957 with the class A Albuquerque Dukes, hitting .294, his best average since his first try at the game in 1942. He finished up his 12-season minor league career in 1958 with the class A Allentown Red Sox at the age of 34. During his minor league run, Al appeared in 1,143 games with 3,844 at-bats and 1,022 base hits, that included 77 home runs, for a minor league career batting average of .266.

Following his playing career, Cihocki was head baseball coach at Luzerne County Community College for many years. He died in 2014 at age 89.

He was a cousin of Steve Bilko. He came from a family of immigrants from central Europe - his father's parents had come from Poland and his mother's from Czechoslovakia. He would have been destined to work in the coal miles of Pennsylvania like his father were it not for his athletic prowess.

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