The Rhode Island 9: Baseball Players Who Made the Large Leagues

Any checklist of elite incubators for big-league ballplayers ought to incorporate the Ocean State. Despite its measurement and inhabitants, Rhode Island has been the birthplace or dwelling to greater than eighty main leaguers, making it one of many nation’s greatest pound-for-pound producers {of professional} baseball expertise. Here are 5 gamers that will type the core of a Rhode Island All-Star Team who I’d put head-to-head with nearly another state within the union.


Gabby Hartnett (1922-1941): Charles Leo “Gabby” Hartnett was the satisfaction of Woonsocket. The son of a day laborer, “Old Tomato Face” — as he was nicknamed for his ruddy complexion — introduced that blue-collar ethic to the ballfield. For 20 years, Hartnett proved himself to be one of many National League’s hardest backstops and one in every of its hardest-hitting catchers for the Chicago Cubs. Hartnett later served as Cubs’ supervisor and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955.



Paul Konerko (1997-2014): Born in Providence, Paul Konerko spent the primary 5 years of his life in Little Rhody earlier than his household relocated to Connecticut. After starring in faculty at Arizona State, Konerko went on to grow to be among the best energy hitters of his technology. The right-handed hitting slugger spent nearly his whole profession with the Chicago White Sox, slamming 439 dwelling runs and driving in additional than 1,400. Konerko was a clubhouse chief for the White Sox and served because the group’s captain. He was a driving pressure behind the White Sox’s 2005 World Series win, ending the franchise’s eighty-eight-year drought.


Napoleon Lajoie (1896-1916): “Nap” was the son of French-Canadian immigrants in Woonsocket. His father died not lengthy after his delivery, forcing the eight Lajoie youngsters to work at very younger ages. A teenage Lajoie was working at a neighborhood textile mill when skilled baseball scouts found him taking part in sandlot ball, launching a Hall of Fame profession. Lajoie rivaled Ty Cobb as the most effective hitter of his period, posting a .339 profession batting common and profitable 5 batting titles with the Phillies, Athletics and Indians. Lajoie was inducted as a part of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s second class in 1937.

Napoleon Lajoie New

Napoleon Lajoie


Bill Almon (1974-1988): Providence-born and Warwick-bred Bill Almon introduced his skills to Brown University, the place he batted .357 and was named the 1974 National Collegiate Player of the Year. The San Diego Padres made Almon the primary decide total within the ’74 Amateur Draft. He is the one Ivy Leaguer to have ever earned this distinction. Over the course of a fifteen-year profession spent principally within the NL, Almon was one of many recreation’s prime defensive shortstops and a gradual hitter.


Charley Bassett (1884-1892): A rough-and-tumble infielder from baseball’s rough-and-tumble “deadball” period, Central Falls’ Bassett spent 9 seasons within the NL with 5 totally different golf equipment. He spent his first two with the hometown Providence Grays (1884-1885), PVD’s long-departed entry into the Major Leagues.


Davey Lopes (1972-1987): The satisfaction of LaSalle Academy, Lopes excelled defensively each as an infielder (significantly for the Los Angeles Dodgers within the Seventies and early Eighties) and as an outfielder later in his profession for the Athletics, Cubs and Astros. Lopes was an elite base stealer, main the National League in steals in 1975 and 1976 for the Dodgers, with a profession complete of 557 steals.

Hugh Duffy (1888-1906): Cranston’s Hugh Duffy stood simply five-foot-seven however walloped the ball like few others. He had baseball’s prime cumulative batting common, dwelling runs and runs batted in for the Eighteen Nineties. In 1894, Duffy batted .440 for the Boston Beaneaters, the best single-season common in main league historical past. After a nineteen-year profession, Duffy spent the higher a part of 20 years as a serious league supervisor. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945 and mentored a younger Ted Williams later in life whereas working as an teacher for the Red Sox group.

Rocco Baldelli (2003-2010): A standout at Bishop Hendricken, Baldelli was an out-of-the-box sensation for the Tampa Bay Rays. As a rookie in 2003, Baldelli hit .289, ripped thirty-two doubles and drove-in seventy-eight runs, ending third in American League Rookie of the Year balloting. Though a collection of accidents radically shortened his profession, Baldelli was regarded by followers and friends alike as a hard-nosed, throwback participant who contributed to his groups in some ways. Following his retirement, Baldelli received into teaching. In 2019, he was named supervisor of the Minnesota Twins, which he led to consecutive American League Central Division titles in his first two seasons. As a rookie supervisor, Baldelli was chosen American League supervisor of the yr.


Clem Labine (1950-1962): Born in Lincoln however raised in Woonsocket, Labine was one in every of baseball’s greatest reduction pitchers of the Nineteen Fifties. At the time of his retirement, he held the NL report for saves. Twice, the right-hander represented the Dodgers on the All-Star Game. He earned World Series rings with the Dodgers in each Brooklyn and Los Angeles in addition to a 3rd championship with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960.

Clayton Trutor holds a PhD in US History and teaches at Norwich University in Vermont. He is the creator of Loserville: How Professional Sports Remade Atlanta—and How Atlanta Remade Professional Sports (University of Nebraska Press). He’d love to listen to from you on Twitter: @ClaytonTrutor

Rocco Bball Card

Rocco Baldelli

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