Johnny Antonelli, Star Pitcher for the Giants, Dies at 89

An editorial in The San Francisco Chronicle suggested that Giants management should send Antonelli to “some mythical park where the wind never blows, or else hang a pacifier in the clubhouse.”

When Antonelli started a game at home against the Cubs a week later, the fans booed him. He never got back in their good graces.

Antonelli said long afterward that he had been misquoted as having insulted San Francisco itself.

Antonelli told Danny Peary long afterward that a reporter who had questioned him after the game “was out for sensationalism and wrote vindictively that I said, ‘You can stick San Francisco. …’”

“I never said anything bad about the city,” he said, “just Seals Stadium.”

In 1960 the Giants began playing at Candlestick Park, which became notorious for winds in its own right. Antonelli had trouble winning as a starter that year, was shifted to the bullpen and posted a 6-7 record. He was still being booed over his 1959 remarks, and he was traded to Cleveland after the 1960 season.

He had a combined 1-4 record with the Indians and Braves in 1961, then was sold to the Mets. But he retired at age 31 instead of joining them, wanting to devote more time to his family and business interests.

He had a career record of 126-110 and was an All-Star in 1954 and every year from 1956 to 1959.

John August Antonelli was born on April 12, 1930, in Rochester, a son of Gus and Josephine (Messore) Antonelli. His father, an immigrant from Italy, laid track for the New York Central Railroad.

Antonelli pitched in only four games for the Braves in their pennant-winning 1948 season. When they were beaten by the Indians in the World Series, the players did not vote Antonelli a losing share while giving themselves 31 full losing shares of $4,570.73 apiece. The baseball commissioner, Happy Chandler, directed that Antonelli receive a one-eighth share, amounting to $571.34.