June 2, 1926|
Brooklyn, New York
July 9, 2010 (aged 84)|
New Port Richey, Florida
Frank Michael Verdi (June 2, 1926 – July 9, 2010) was a Major League Baseball player in 1953 for the New York Yankees and a longtime manager at the minor league level. As a player, he batted and threw right-handed, stood 5'10½" (179 cm) tall and weighed 170 pounds (77 kg). He was born in Brooklyn, New York.
A 1944 graduate of Brooklyn's Boys High School, Verdi attended New York University. He served in the United States Navy during World War II. He managed the Ponce Leones team in the Puerto Rico Winter League in 1971-72 season, and became champions this year.
One-game MLB playing career[edit | edit source]
Verdi only appeared in one game as a defensive replacement to Phil Rizzuto at shortstop on May 10, 1953. He did not have a plate appearance in the game, nor did he handle a chance in the field, before being replaced in the lineup. As a minor league player, Verdi was famous for his ability to execute the hidden ball trick. In 1949, as a second baseman for the Binghamton Triplets in the Class A Eastern League, he pulled off the trick seven times in 95 games.
Long tenure as minor league manager[edit | edit source]
Verdi made a much larger mark as a minor league manager for 21 seasons (1961–70; 1972; 1974; 1977–85) at the affiliated level. He spent much of that period in the Yankees' farm system, winning Triple-A International League championships in 1969 and 1970 (with the Syracuse Chiefs) and in 1981 (with the Columbus Clippers). He also managed the New York Mets' Tidewater Tides for four seasons (1977–80) and the Baltimore Orioles' Rochester Red Wings farm club from 1984 through June 16, 1985, and spent brief managing stints in the Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins and Washington Senators organizations. His record as a manager was 1,351 wins, 1,332 losses (.504).
Escaped serious injury in Havana shooting[edit | edit source]
Verdi also survived a potentially tragic accident on July 25, 1959, when, as a player for the Rochester Red Wings, he was struck in the head by a stray bullet in Havana during a game against the Havana Sugar Kings. Verdi was standing in as the team's third base coach after the ejection of Rochester manager Cot Deal when shooting broke out in the stands. Verdi was still wearing the plastic lining in his baseball cap in lieu of a batting helmet and the lining deflected the bullet away from his head; it lodged in his shoulder and caused a minor wound.
After his managerial career with affiliated minor league teams, Verdi managed in independent leagues during the 1990s and for the Indios de Mayagüez of the Puerto Rico Baseball League from 1984 to 1985. His son, Mike Verdi, also was a minor league manager.
Verdi died in New Port Richey, Florida, at the age of 84.
References[edit | edit source]
- Montague, John, Baltimore Orioles 1983 Organization Book. St. Petersburg, Florida: The Baseball Library, 1983
- Montague, op cit
- Brosnan, Jim, The Long Season. New York: Harper & Row, 1960
- Johnson, Lloyd, ed., The Minor League Register. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 1994.
- Montague, John, Baltimore Orioles 1983 Organization Book. St. Petersburg, Florida: The Baseball Library, 1983.
[edit | edit source]
- Baseball Reference – Major League career statistics
- Baseball Reference – Minor League career statistics
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