Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rico Petrocelli (#298)

Rico Petrocelli was selected as the Topps all-rookie shortstop for 1965.

Petrocelli was signed by the Red Sox in 1961, and played 3 seasons in the minors (1962-64) as a shortstop. His major-league debut was a 1-game cup of coffee in September 1963, but he wouldn't return until the start of the 1965 season. From there, he would play his entire 12-year career with the Red Sox.

Rico began the 1965 season as the starting shortstop, replacing the veteran Ed Bressoud, who had started 158 games at short in 1964. Petrocelli started 93 games as a rookie, to Bressoud's 69 starts.

In 1966, Petrocelli was the fulltime shortstop, although he was sidelined for the 2nd half of August. The next season, Boston was in the World Series for the first time in 20 years, and Rico hit 2 home runs against the Cardinals. He made the AL All-Star team in 1967 and 1969, and uncharacteristically hit 40 homers in 1969. (His previous high was 18 dingers.) His power surge lasted two more seasons, hitting 29 and 28 homers in '70 and '71, before he settled back in the mid-teens.

The Sox acquired Luis Aparicio in 1972, moving Rico over to 3rd base, where he would stay until the end of his career in 1976. Petrocelli wrapped up his last season as a full-time regular by hitting .308 in the 1975 World Series.

Rico began the 1976 as the starting 3rd baseman, but by the end of June, rookie Butch Hobson took over the position, starting 76 of the last 96 games at 3rd.

Petrocelli managed in the White Sox' farm system from 1986-88, and managed the Red Sox' AAA team in 1992. He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1997.

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