- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 187 lb.
David Rigoli was a star Italian player in the 1990s. He played in the Olympics, set a league record for steals and was one of the first Italians in the US minor leagues in decades.
He debuted in 1990 at age 17, going 4 for 6 with two runs and two RBI for the Grosseto club. He became a starter at third base the next year, hitting a light .207/.317/.306 while fielding .892 at the hot corner. He stole 11 bases in 14 tries. He tied for 8th in the league in steals. In 1992, he played all three outfield spots, second base, third base but primarily was a catcher, where he split time with Francesco Petruzzelli; he batted .254/.291/.493 and went 15-for-17 in steal attempts. He hit 10 home runs and scored 28 runs in 34 games. He was 4th in the league in steals (between Tom LeVasseur and Luigi Carrozza) and tied for 5th in home runs (with Randall Curran, Giuseppe Carelli and Franco Collina).
Occupying the Craig Biggio-style unusual role of C-2B, he hit .372/.441/.512 with 38 runs and 16 steals in 19 tries in 31 games for Grosseto in 1993. He tied for 5th in steals and tied Roberto De Franceschi for 6th in runs. In 1994, he moved to Parma and yet another position, shortstop. He fielded .923 at short while hitting .337/.390/.508 with 51 runs and 45 RBI in 43 games. He stole 30 bases in 34 tries, finishing second in the loop in swipes, 7 behind Johnny Paredes. He was 6 for 15 with a double, two walks and four steals in four games in the finals as Parma swept Nettuno.
Rigoli produced at a .350/.409/.487 clip for Parma in 1995, with 16 doubles and 61 runs in 53 games. He stole 33 bases in 46 tries and fielded .917 at short. In the finals, he was 9 for 19 with 8 runs, 2 steals and 4 walks as Parma topped Nettuno again. For the year, he led in steals (8 ahead of #2 Elio Gambuti), led in caught stealing (3 more than runner-up Pierpaolo Illuminati) and tied Francesco Casolari for second in runs, 7 behind Jessie Reid. He debuted for the Italian national team in the 1995 European Championship, as they finished second to the Dutch national team. He hit .270/.357/.486 with 9 runs and 12 RBI in 9 games despite no set position; he played all three outfield spots, both middle infield positions and DH. He was second on Italy in RBI, 5 behind Carrozza. He was only 1 for 10 with a walk, run and steal in the 1995 Intercontinental Cup, splitting 2B with Alberto D'Auria.
In 1996, he hit .321/.444/.431 with 24 steals in 27 tries and 25 runs in 30 games as a utility man for Parma. In the finals, he hit .393/.433/.571, stole five bases and scored six runs in six games but the team fell to Nettuno this time. In the regular season, he had ranked third in swipes, four behind Marco Mazzieri and Matteo Menarini. In the 1996 Olympics, he split shortstop with Andrea Evangelisti and third base with Ruggero Bagialemani. He was 6 for 18 with a triple, steal, homer, six walks and seven runs but made five errors. He led Italy in runs and walks. He scored four of his runs as Italy's leadoff man in their win over Australia.
He Montréal Expos signed Rigoli; he and Claudio Liverziani became the first Italians to sign with a MLB team since Alberto Rinaldi in the 1960s. In the interim, top Italians like Giorgio Castelli and Roberto Bianchi had turned down American offers, with pressure from Italian executives to keep their players amateur for the Olympics and Amateur World Series playing a role as well. With international competitions opening up to professionals, that barrier was removed. Rigoli played 17 games for the Cape Fear Crocs, going 9 for 48 with two doubles, a triple, 8 walks, steal, 5 runs, 3 RBI and four errors. He and Liverziani had opened the doors for other Italians, including Alex Liddi, who would become the first born-and-raised Italian major leaguer 14 years later.
In the 1997 European Championship, he played very well (13 for 30, 8 BB, 5 SB, 13 R, 13 RBI, 2 HR). He led the Gold Medal-winning Italians in walks, homers and steals, was second to Casolari in RBI and tied Alessandro Flisi for second in runs behind De Franceschi. Returning to Grosseto for 1998, he hit .329/.444/.623 with 30 walks, 33 RBI, 49 runs, 10 homers and 28 steals (caught just3 times) in 37 games while fielding .880 at short. He tied Leonardo Mazzanti and Evangelisti for 10th in Serie A1 in homers and led in steals, one ahead of Orlando Muñoz. He made his last appearance on the international stage in the 1998 Baseball World Cup. Backing up D'Auria at 2B and Evangelisti at SS, he mostly was used at DH; he hit only .194/.293/.333 but stole 6 bases in 6 tries and led Italy with eight runs. He led the Cup in swipes, two ahead of Lingfeng Sun, Tomohiro Nioka and Yusuke Nishizawa.
The veteran, still only 26, hit .349/.454/.500 as a middle infielder for Grosseto in '99; he scored 48 runs, drew 29 walks and stole 23 bases (in 28 tries) in 37 games. He tied Stefano Cappuccini for third in Serie A1 in runs (6 behind Jim Vatcher and Liverziani), was second to Liverziani in steals, was 8th in walks and ranked 7th in OBP. He hit .281/.388/.433 in 2000, drawing 32 walks in 44 games, scoring 45 runs, legging out 7 triples and swiping 24 bags while being caught only four times again. It was his last season primarily as an infielder. He was 5th in runs (between De Franceschi and Casolari), led in triples (by one), tied Ruben Santana for 5th in walks and was second in steals (5 shy of Liverziani). He was usually used as a left fielder in 2001, producing at a .315/.445/.530 clip with 23 steals in 27 tries, 40 walks, 16 doubles and 52 runs in 49 games. He ranked among the leaders in stolen bases (1st, 4 ahead of Liverziani), walks (5th), doubles (5th), runs (3rd behind Vatcher and Liverziani as in 1999) and OBP (10th, between Anthony Forelli and Santana).
In 2002, Rigoli ended his Grosseto career by batting .330/.407/.493 as the center fielder. He pilfered 33 bases in 39 tries, hit six homers and scored 54 times in 50 games. He was second in steals (3 behind Jim Buccheri), third in runs (trailing Liverziani and Juan Bautista) and sixth in hits (69, between Buccheri and Sandy Martinez). He moved to Fortitudo Bologna for his final three seasons. He hit .364/.441/.575 with 55 runs, 43 RBI, 8 homers, 27 walks and 24 steals in 29 tries in 52 games in 2003, then was 6 for 20 with a double, four walks, two steals and four runs in the finals, which Bologna won. In the regular season, he had been 4th in the league in runs (between Davide Dallospedale and Muñoz), 4th in hits (78, between Dallospedale and Ramon Tavarez), tied for 8th in doubles (15), tied for 4th in homers (with Willie Canate), first in steals for the last time (one ahead of Greg Martinez), 7th in average (between Liverziani and Igor Schiavetti), 9th in OBP (between Dean Rovinelli and Fausto Solano), 3rd in slugging (after Liverziani and Luis de los Santos) and 6th in OPS (between Liu Rodriguez and Tavarez). In 2004, the veteran slumped to .233/.340/.322 though he still had 30 walks, 26 steals in 30 tries and 50 runs in 50 contests. He picked it up in the finals (8 for 24, 2 2B, 3B, 2 BB, 4 SB, 5 R) but Bologna fell to his old Grosseto club. He was second in Serie A1 in swipes (a distant 12 behind Frank Candela) and 4th in runs (trailing Liverziani once again, Eric Martins and Canate). He hit a meek .205/.311/.261 in his final season, 2005, with 25 walks and 12 stolen bases in 17 tries. He was 6 for 19 with 6 walks, a steal, 2 doubles, 5 runs and two RBI in another strong finals performance as Bologna won its second title in his three seasons there. He tied Canate and Julio Pacheco for 6th in steals in the regular season.
Overall, Rigoli had hit .313/.402/.475 in 663 games in Italy's top level, with 664 runs, 370 RBI, 150 doubles, 38 triples, 62 home runs, 381 walks and 354 steals in 422 tries. He fielded .966 in 315 games in CF, .893 in 131 games at SS, .953 in 104 G at 2B, .932 in 81 G in LF, .852 in 55 G at 3B and .980 in 43 games at C. Through 2012, he was 50th in Italian history in games played, 21st in runs (664, between Andrea Landuzzi and Carrozza), 33rd in hits (801, between Leonardo Schianchi and Gianfranco Vandi), tied for 31st in doubles with Schianchi, tied for 5th in triples (with Marco Ubani), 27th in walks (between Ubani and Marco Borroni), 1st in steals (68 ahead of #2 Pietro Monaco), 40th in home runs, 42nd in OBP (between Mazzieri and Bagialemani), 40th in slugging (between Muñoz and Canate), 43rd in average (between Massimo Fochi and Stefano Manzini), 7th in steal percentage (between Buccheri and Carlo Morelli) and 35th in OPS (between Alessandro Bussi and Canate).