Jack Dempsey Cassini
(Gabby or Scat)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 175 lb.
- Debut April 19, 1949
- Final Game May 6, 1949
- Born October 26, 1919 in Dearborn, MI USA
- Died September 20, 2010 in Mesa, AZ USA
Jack's younger brother, Eddie Cassini, became a minor league umpire. For his part, Jack started his career with the Tiffin Mud Hens of the Ohio State League in 1940, terrorizing opposing pitchers with a .396 average, 118 runs scored and 51 stolen bases. The latter figure was the first of a number stolen base titles for Cassini over the course of his minor league career. These included the 1941 Pioneer League, which he led with 43 thefts, the 1947 Texas League (52), the 1948 American Association (33), the 1949-50 Cuban Winter League (12), the 1950 American Association (36), the 1951-52 Cuban Winter League (15) and the 1952 American Association (35). He also led the 1947 Texas League in runs with 116.
After his inaugural minor league season, the Cincinnati Reds purchased his contract and assigned him to the Ogden Reds of the Pioneer League. However, he then spent the next four seasons in the Army, before returning to baseball with the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League in 1946. After a slow start, he was sent down to the Texas League where he played a lot better. He split his time between shortstop, second base and third base during those years, and when he attended the Reds' spring training in 1947, he did not have a regular position. He went back to the Tulsa Oilers of the Texas League for another season, and there had a foot race against Joe Tepsic, a tremendous athlete who had run track in college and was reputed to be one of the fastest man in organized baseball. Cassini won the race, and after the season was sold to the Indianapolis Indians of the American Association for $ 6,500. He kept piling on the stolen base titles, and after the 1948 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates purchased his contract.
Cassini was expected to compete for the Pirates' third base job in 1949 but he ended up as a bench player, being used solely as a pinch runner, scoring three times, before being sent back down to the American Association. That would turn out to be his only taste of the big leagues. He was traded to the powerful Brooklyn Dodgers for Danny O'Connell after the season, but ended up spending four seasons with the St. Paul Saints, seemingly unable to escape the American Association. He was a circuit All-Star in 1952 and 1953, then spent the 1954 season with the Montreal Royals, another top farm team of the Dodgers, this time in the International League. He was then allowed to join the Memphis Chicks of the Southern Association as a player-manager. Playing as the team's regular second baseman, his stint was cut short when he was hit in the face by a pitch on August 2, suffering a broken cheekbone and blurred vision. That effectively ended his playing career, but he continued for the next two decades as a scout and minor league manager for four different organizations. He eventually retired in Arizona.
Year-by-Year Managerial Record
- Clifford Blau: "Leg Men: Career Pinch-Runners in Major League Baseball", in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 38, Number 1 (Summer 2009), pp. 70-81.