February 6, 1926|
Beverly, New Jersey
November 28, 2006 (aged 80)|
Mount Holly Township, New Jersey
Samuel Francis Calderone (February 6, 1926 – November 28, 2006) was an American professional baseball catcher who spent three seasons (1950; 1953–54) in Major League Baseball as a member of the New York Giants and Milwaukee Braves. Calderone threw and batted right-handed, stood 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall and weighed 185 pounds (84 kg).
Calderone first signed with the Giants' archrivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers, in 1945 but could not make the Major League team, despite batting .317, .293 and .316 in successive minor league seasons. He was selected by New York in the 1949 Rule 5 draft and spent the 1950 season as the backup to regular Giant catcher Wes Westrum, batting .299 in 34 games and 67 at bats. He served in the United States Army during the Korean War and lost the 1951–1952 seasons to military service. One of his teammates on the 1951 Fort Myer, Virginia, Army team was Boston Braves southpaw pitcher Johnny Antonelli, and a year after Calderone returned to baseball, he and Antonelli would figure in a major trade between the Giants and the Milwaukee Braves prior to the 1954 season. In the deal, the Giants' 1951 hero Bobby Thomson and Calderone were swapped to Milwaukee for Antonelli, pitcher Don Liddle, catcher Ebba St. Claire, infielder Billy Klaus and $50,000. Antonelli would help lead the 1954 Giants to the world championship, going 21–7, leading the National League in earned run average, and picking up a win and a save against the Cleveland Indians in the Giants' World Series sweep.
Calderone, meanwhile, served as the Braves' third-string receiver that season and batted only 29 times, although he rang up 11 hits for a .379 average. He was sent to the Pacific Coast League for 1955 and finished his playing career in Triple-A in 1958. He managed in the Giants' minor league system briefly before leaving baseball. All told, Calderone appeared in 91 Major League games, batting 141 times with 41 hits.
Sam Calderone died at age 80 in Mount Holly Township, New Jersey.
- Staff. "Catching up with ...... Burlington City's Barney Schultz", Burlington County Times, June 12, 2005. Accessed May 22, 2012. "Schultz was one of three Burlington High baseball teammates from the 1940s to go on to play major-league ball. Eddie Miksis, who died in April at age 78, played 14 seasons as a utility infielder. Sam Calderone was a reserve catcher for the New York Giants and Milwaukee Braves in the early 1950s."
- Mason, Joe. "Calderone more than just a hero to family, neighbors", Burlington County Times, December 1, 2006. Accessed June 13, 2012. "Born in Beverly and a lifelong area resident, Sam Calderone was an accomplished golfer and football player during his days at Burlington City High School, but his passion was baseball."
- Minor league statistics from Baseball Reference
- Baseball and the Armed Services
- Career statistics from Baseball Reference
- Baseball Reference
- 1949-50 Cienfuegos (Liga Profesional Cubana 1949-50)
- Cuban League baseball card
- Pura Pelota
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