Edward Robert Sanicki (Butch)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9½", Weight 175 lb.
- School Seton Hall University
- High School Clifton High School
- Debut September 14, 1949
- Final Game May 12, 1951
- Born July 7, 1923 in Wallington, NJ USA
- Died July 6, 1998 in Old Bridge, NJ USA
Ed Sanicki was an outfielder for seven years (1946-1952), all in the minors except for two rich cups of coffee. He holds the major league record for the highest slugging percentage for any player with 20 plate appearances.
Sanicki was born on July 7, 1923, in Wallington, NJ. He graduated in 1941 at age 18 from Clifton High School in Clifton, NJ, where he starred in baseball, basketball and football. He then attended Seton Hall University, with his tuition paid by the Brooklyn Dodgers, from 1941 to 1943.
He joined the Navy in 1943 and served on a Liberty ship as a signalman for four years (BN). While in the Navy, he was state Golden Gloves light heavyweight boxing champion. After getting out he married Ann Krehel and went back to Seton Hall.
Scouted by Ben Marmo and signed by scout Chuck Ward of the Philadelphia Phillies as an amateur free agent in 1946, he broke into Organized Baseball at age 22 with the Class A Utica, NY team of the Eastern League. He played with Utica (1946); Wilmington of the Class B Inter-State League (1946-1947); and the Toronto Maple Leafs of the Class AAA International League (1948-1949).
Sanicki was 26 years old when he broke into the big leagues on September 14, 1949, with the Philadelphia Phillies. He hit a home run in his first at bat for the Phillies off Rip Sewell. He added two more home runs on his next two hits. He reported for spring training in 1950 but a knee injury kept him out of the 1950 season; it was the year in which the Phillies won the National League pennant and reached the World Series for the only time between 1914 and 1980. He instead spent 1950 with Toronto. Back up with the Phils, he played his final major league game on May 12, 1951 at age 27.
He returned to the minors with Schenectady in the Class A Eastern League in 1951 and was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds from the Phillies in the 1951 minor league draft. He played with the Tulsa Oilers and the Houston Buffaloes in the Class AA Texas League in 1952, ending his baseball career at age 29.
Sanicki has the highest career slugging percentage (.882), of any player with at least 20 plate appearances. In 1947, his best year in the minors, he had 37 home runs and 109 RBI, with a .320 batting average. Overall in the majors, he had 5 hits, 5 runs, 1 double, 0 triples, 3 home runs, 8 RBI, 5 runs created and 1 stolen base for a batting line of .294/.368/.882 in only 20 plate appearances in 20 games. Overall in the minors, he had 161 home runs and 622 RBI.
After retiring from baseball, he went back once again to Seton Hall and earned a bachelor's degree in education. He worked for 30 years as a special education teacher. In the summers, he was the waterfront director of the Sayreville Association for Brain-Injured Children.
He was a member of the Retired Professional Baseball Players Association and the Middlesex County Baseball Umpires Association. He was a member of the National Education Association and the Passaic County Education Association. He was a communicant of St. Ambrose Roman Catholic Church of Old Bridge, NJ. He lived in Passaic, NJ before moving to Old Bridge, NJ in 1963. Sanicki was an avid gardener and enjoyed frequent trips to Atlantic City, NJ. He died at Raritan Bay Medical Center, Old Bridge Division, in Old Bridge a day before his 75th birthday on July 6, 1998 and is buried at Holy Cross Burial Park in East Brunswick, NJ.
A brother, Joseph, died in 1992. Surviving him were his wife of 53 years, the former Ann Krehel; two sons: Edward G. of Monroe, NJ and Robert G. of the Perrineville, NJ section of Millstone Townhship; two daughters: Patricia Nemeth of Monroe and Sandra Sanicki of Perrineville; a brother, Emil of Clifton; a sister Helen Simek of Clifton; six grandchildren, and a great-grandson. He was to have thrown the first pitch at the July 4, 1998 game for the Wilmington Blue Rocks in Delaware, where he had played in minor league ball.
- Highest career slugging percentage (.882) for all players over 20 plate appearances. The top ten include Babe Ruth (#5), Ted Williams (#7), Lou Gehrig (#8), Albert Pujols (#9) and Todd Helton (#10)
- Highest career ISO (isolated power) (.588) for all players over 20 plate appearances. The top ten include Babe Ruth (#3), Mark McGwire (#6) and Barry Bonds (#10).
- Second highest career OPS (1.251) behind Joe Peitz (1.262) for all players over 20 plate appearances. The top ten include Babe Ruth (#4), Ted Williams (#7), Lou Gehrig (#8) and Barry Bonds (#10).
- He hit a home run in his first at bat for the Phillies off Rip Sewell on September 14, 1949.
- He added two more home runs on his next two hits.
- Sanicki (1949), Clem Labine (1955) andKeith McDonald (2000), all had 3 hits during a season which all were home runs; they are the only players to do so.
Awards and honors
He was named the Clifton, NJ "Educator of the Year" in 1974.
In a 1995 ceremony, the town of Clifton dedicated the baseball field at Albion Memorial Park in his name. Letters of congratulation were presented to Sanicki from President Bill Clinton, the Phillies, Governor Christine Todd Whitman, and the children and parents of the children he had taught.
"For the next 30 years [after baseball], he [Ed Sanicki] was a special education teacher in Clifton (New Jersey), where he had been an outstanding high school athlete, playing football, basketball and baseball. He was named "Educator of the Year" in 1974." - Home News Tribune (July 5th, 1998)
Principal sources for Ed Sanicki include newspaper obituaries (OB), government Veteran records (VA,CM,CW), Stars & Stripes (S&S), Sporting Life (SL), The Sporting News (TSN), The Sports Encyclopedia:Baseball 2006 by David Neft & Richard Cohen (N&C), old Who's Who in Baseballs (none) (WW), old Baseball Registers (none) (BR) , old Daguerreotypes by TSN (none) (DAG), Stars&Stripes (S&S), The Baseball Necrology by Bill Lee (BN), Pat Doyle's Professional Ballplayer DataBase (PD), The Baseball Library (BL), Baseball in World War II Europe by Gary Bedingfield (GB) ; The Texas League in Baseball, 1888-1958 by Marshall D. Wright; The Texas League: A Century of Baseball by Bill O'Neal and independent research by Walter Kephart (WK) and Frank Russo (FR) and others.
- Ed Sanicki at the Baseball Almanac
- Bio at Baseball Page
- The Baseball Chronology for Ed Sanicki
- Ed Sanicki at Historic Baseball
- For a tape and transcript of oral interview with Ed Sanicki - SABR members only
- Also see obituary at Ed Sanicki obituary
- Full bibliography from SABR's The Baseball Index (TBI)