Former all-star pitcher Johnny Antonelli, who was a part-owner and member of the board of directors of the original Rochester Lancers, died on Friday.
He was 89.
While gaining a nationwide reputation as the pitching hero for the New York Giants in the 1954 World Series, Antonelli played a role with the Lancers during their early North American Soccer League days in the 1970s.
He helped negotiate the Lancers’ contract to return to Aquinas Stadium in 1972 and was a candidate for the team’s general manager position when Charlie Schiano resigned in 1970. Schiano returned to the position several days later.
Antonelli registered a 21-7 record and a 3.48 earned-run average with the Giants in 1954, starting and winning the second game of the World Series against the Cleveland Indians. With only one day’s rest, he came out of the bullpen in the eighth inning to lockdown Game Four and the series.
His 12-year major league record was 126-110, after playing with the Boston Braves, Milwaukee Braves, San Francisco Giants and Cleveland Indians. He retired in 1961 at the age of 31.
“He was so good with people,” former Rochester Democrat & Chronicle sportswriter Scott Pitoniak was quoted by the newspaper. “If I think of one word to describe him it would be ‘class.’ He was genuinely kind to people.”
Pitoniak later added: “If there is a Mount Rushmore of Rochester athletes, he’s gotta be on it.”
After retiring, Antonelli owned a dozen tire stores in his name in Rochester and upstate New York.
For Antonelli’s full obituary, visit: