Sunday, January 24, 2010
#23) CHRIS CANNIZZARO
Chris Cannizzaro was one of the original 1962 Mets when he was drafted from the St. Louis Cardinals on October 10, 1961. He was a superb defensive catcher and had his best season with the bat during the first year of Shea Stadium. Chris registered a .311 batting average for the 1964 season. Accomplishing that without hitting a single home run. Actually, he would go his entire Mets career (581 at-bats) never managing that feat. Cannizzaro's greatest defensive play would come at Shea in 1965. He was in the middle of a triple play against the Houston Astros on April 15th. With runners at first and third, Astros' batter Jimmy Wynn hit a ball to right field. Johnny Lewis made the catch and threw to the plate as the runner tagged up from third base. Chris grabbed the one bounce throw and made the tag at the plate for the second out. He would then fire a bullet to Mets' shortstop Roy McMillan who was able to tag the Astros' runner off first base to complete the rare feat.
Cannizzaro's contract was sold to the New York Yankees on December 7, 1966. He became one of the original 1969 San Diego Padres when he was selected in that team's expansion draft. Chris was even the Padres first All-Star representative when he was selected to represent the club during it's inaugural year. After his playing career ended he became a major league coach with the Atlanta Braves (1976-78) and the manager of the Class A Cal State League team for the California Angels (1979-82). He took the position of Assistant Coach for the University of San Diego Toreros baseball team at the start of the 2000 season, and was promoted to their Director of Baseball Operations in 2006.
Chris Cannizzaro signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on November 5, 2008.