Americo Peter Petrocelli
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 185 lb.
- High School Sheepshead Bay High School
- Debut September 21, 1963
- Final Game September 14, 1976
- Born June 27, 1943 in Brooklyn, NY USA
The Boston Red Sox signed Rico Petrocelli to an amateur free agent contract in 1961 and the 19-year-old played his first season of professional ball with the Class B Carolina League Winston-Salem Red Sox in 1962. The young shortstop appeared in 137 games, hit for a .277 batting average and also hit 17 home runs. He fielded at a .923 pace in his first year as a pro. The 1963 season found Rico with the Reading Red Sox of the Class AA Eastern League where he again appeared in 137 games, hitting at a .239 clip, with 19 round-trippers. Petrocelli showed improvement in the field, with a .946 percentage. He also appeared in one game with the major league Red Sox, getting one hit in four trips, but picked up his first fielding error in his 13 year major league career. In 1964, Rico spent his third and final minor league season with the Seattle Rainiers of the Triple A Pacific Coast League, appearing in 134 games, hitting .231 with 10 home runs and fielding at a .956 clip.
Petrocelli became the Boston Red Sox regular shortstop in 1965 and remained at that position until 1971 when he moved over to third base to accommodate future Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio. Rico became the Red Sox regular third baseman until his retirement in 1976.
During his career, Rico played in two World Series, in 1967 against the St. Louis Cardinals (he belted two home runs), and in 1975 against the Cincinnati Reds, when he had 8 base hits in 28 at-bats for a .308 average.
Petrocelli was voted the All-Star Game starting shortstop twice, in 1967 and 1969. He led the league in fielding in both 1968 and 1969. Also in 1969, he set a league record for home runs by shortstops with 40. (since broken in 1998 by Alex Rodriguez with 42). 1970 saw Rico knock in a career-high 103 runs while hitting 29 home runs.
Petrocelli retired after the 1976 season, his fifteenth year in professional baseball. He was known as one of the league's best fielders for over a decade and left a .970 career fielding percentage to his credit. Rico's major league batting statistics show that he appeared in 1,553 games, went to bat 5,390 times, collected 1,352 base hits, including 210 home runs, 773 RBI and a .251 batting average.
After his retirement he worked as a minor league coach for several years, mostly for the White Sox organization. Petrocelli managed the 1986 Appleton Foxes, 1987-1988 Birmingham Barons and 1992 Pawtucket Red Sox.
Petrocelli currently lives in Southern New Hampshire with his wife, and has an office in Nashua, NH, where he runs his own business, working at baseball clinics and in radio, including a Saturday morning show on MLB Network Radio ("Remember When"), co-hosted with long-time broadcaster Ed Randall.
- 1965 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
- 2-time AL All Star (1967 & 1969)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 3 (1969-1971)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1969)
- 40-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1969)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1970)
Year-By-Year Minor League Managerial Record
|1986||Appleton Foxes||Midwest League||32-53||11th||Chicago White Sox||replaced Duke Sims (24-30) on June 10|
|1987||Birmingham Barons||Southern League||68-75||T7th||Chicago White Sox||League Champs|
|1988||Birmingham Barons||Southern League||62-82||9th||Chicago White Sox|
|1992||Pawtucket Red Sox||International League||71-72||4th||Boston Red Sox||Lost in 1st round|
SABR MILB Database:page
- R.R. Marshall: "Rico Petrocelli", in Bill Nowlin and Dan Desrochers, eds.: The 1967 Impossible Dream Red Sox: 'Pandemonium on the Field', SABR, Rounder Books, Burlington, MA, 2007, pp. 84-89. ISBN 978-1-5794-0141-2
- Ron Marshall: "Rico Petrocelli", in Bill Nowlin and Cecilia Tan, ed.: '75:The Red Sox Team that Saved Baseball, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2015, pp. 47-51. ISBN 978-1-933599-97-7
- Rico Petrocelli and Chaz Scroggins: Rico Petrocelli's Tales from the Impossible Dream Red Sox, Sports Publishing LLC, Champaign, Il, 2007.