Wednesday, July 14, 2010
#455) JOHN CANGELOSI
John Cangelosi signed with the New York Mets as a free agent on November 17, 1993. The veteran outfielder was brought on to strengthen the bench, and was used primarily as a reserve during his season with the team. A Brooklyn native, who possessed great speed that produced a career high 50 stolen bases during 1986 with the Chicago White Sox. He led a much slower New York team with five steals for the 1994 season. A feat accomplished while playing in only 62 games.
The 5-foot 8-inch tall Cangelosi was the center of controversy following an incident with John Smoltz on May 14, 1994. The Mets were facing the Braves that day at Shea Stadium. New York's Ryan Thompson broke out of a 2-for-36 slump in a big way by delivering a grand slam home run off the Atlanta starting pitcher. Smoltz took exception to the celebratory fashion in which Thompson rounded the bases, "He looked like he was going to go to their dugout and give everyone a high-five before he got to first base." Cangelosi who had been hit by a Smoltz pitch earlier in the same game was the next batter. He was promptly struck in the back by the Atlanta right-hander and charged the mound in retaliation. A bench clearing brawl followed and the event was even featured on the front cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. The league handed out suspensions to the three players involved. Team historians have even pointed to this event as the beginning of the Mets-Braves rivalry.
In a roster move to activate a returning Kevin McReynolds, the Mets officially optioned Cangelosi to Triple-A Norfolk and he exercised his option to be released on July 8th. "With my limited role, I thought I did everything in my power to keep this job and I can't figure out their decision," John said at the time. "It just doesn't make sense." With the Mets then in a position of making their discontented first baseman David Segui an occasional outfielder he may have had a point.
John teamed up with fellow major-leaguer Bo Jackson to create a state-of-the-art baseball training facility in the Chicago area. Cangelosi Baseball, a youth instructional program was formed in 2008. He also has served as the Special Assistant to the General Manager of the Joliet Jackhammers baseball team of the Northern League.
I created John Cangelosi's card in the set from an autographed index card given to me by my friend, Jessie on June 24, 2010.