- Bats Right, Throws Right
Franco Verlezza was a star in the first European Championship. Playing second base and hitting 3rd for the Italian national team in the 1954 European Championship, he went 2 for 4 with a double, walk and run in an opening 6-1 win over Belgium. In the finals of the four-team, two-day event, he went 2 for 5 with a double, walk and 3 runs in a 7-4 win over Spain to give Italy the title. They would not win another title until 1975; it helped that powerhouse Netherlands sat out the event. Verlezza led the Italian team in hits, runs (one over Fausto Camusi) and doubles (tied with Enzo Masci).
After his strong 1954 performance, he was on the bench in the 1955 European Championship behind Massimo Marin at 2B. He got into one game, going 0 for 1 with 3 walks, 4 steals in 4 tries and 3 runs in a romp of France. He had one putout, one assist and one error. Even though he only played one of their four games, he led Italy in steals, one ahead of Marin.
There are almost no Italian league stats for Verlezza's career, which ended before 1960. He hit .269/.472/.423 with 11 runs in 8 games for Nettuno in 1957, fielding .882.