Billy Consolo

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Billy Consolo
Shortstop
Born: August 18, 1934
Cleveland, Ohio
Died: March 27, 2008(2008-03-27) (aged 73)
Los Angeles, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 20, 1953 for the Boston Red Sox
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 1962 for the Kansas City Athletics
Career statistics
Batting average .221
Home runs 9
Runs batted in 83
Hits 260
Teams

William Angelo Consolo (August 18, 1934 – March 27, 2008) was an American shortstop and coach in Major League Baseball who played for five different teams between 1953 and 1962, most notably the Boston Red Sox and Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins.

Primarily used in a reserve role, he enjoyed his best season with the 1957 Red Sox, batting .270 in 68 games. He later served as a coach for the Detroit Tigers for 14 seasons from 1979 to 1992 and again in 1995[1] under manager Sparky Anderson, including the Tigers' 1984 World Series title. Listed at 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m), 180 lb., he batted and threw right-handed.

Career[edit]

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Consolo grew up in Los Angeles, California, graduating from Dorsey High School. While in high school, Consolo (along with longtime friend Sparky Anderson) played on the school's baseball team. Consolo also ran track at Dorsey and was named the Los Angeles High School Baseball city player of the year in 1951 and 1952.[1]

Consolo also played (along with Anderson) for the Crenshaw Post 715 American Legion team, winning the American Legion Baseball national title in 1951,[2] winning the championship at Briggs Stadium, the stadium Consolo where he coached the Detroit Tigers.[3]

Consolo went directly to the Red Sox from high school after signing in 1953 (bonus baby). Consolo joined the Red Sox at age 18; Sparky Anderson said that he was the finest athlete he's seen at that age.[3] Consolo played for the Red Sox during six and half years. Consolo was traded to the Washington Senators on June 11, 1959 in a four-player deal that sent relief pitcher Murray Wall and Consolo to the Senators for relief pitcher Dick Hyde and infielder Herb Plews.[4] The Twins later traded Consolo to the Milwaukee Braves on June 1, 1961 for Billy Martin and some cash.[5] In addition to the Senators/Twins (1959–61), Consolo played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Angels and Kansas City Athletics in his final 1962 season. His 1957 average of .270 was 41 points better than he hit in any other year.

In a 10-season career, Consolo was a .221 hitter (260 for 1178) with nine home runs and 83 runs batted in in 603 games, including 158 runs, 31 doubles, 11 triples, nine stolen bases, and a .315 on-base percentage.

After his playing days ended in 1962, Consolo returned to Los Angeles and like his father before him he became a barber at the old Statler Hilton Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.[1]

He also worked at Los Angeles Pierce College in Woodland Hills as a sports instructor.[1]

Consolo told one story of early in his career, Consolo was spotted by Ted Williams limping away from the ball park in street clothes after a game in which he hadn't played. Consolo was limping because he had one of the Kid's bats hidden in one of his pant legs. He planned to give it to a friend.

Williams, who knew what was going on, yelled out to Consolo:

"Tough game, eh, Billy?"[6]

Consolo related another story of how one time he hit the ball into the alley of the oufield getting an inside-the-park home run. However the umpire called him out for missing second base. Consolo said he charged the umpire from the dugout and told the umpire;

"You're wrong. I touched second base. I missed third. But I touched second."[3]

Fact[edit]

  • According to Baseball America, Consolo was signed within the bonus limit—officially, at least—but the Red Sox supposedly enhanced their offer to as much as $75,000 by arranging to purchase the barber shop confectionery at the Los Angeles Hilton on behalf of his father.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Noland, Claire (29 March 2008), Billy Consolo, 73; Dorsey baseball player went pro at 18, later coached Tigers, Los Angeles Times 
  2. ^ Billy Consolo, 73, 'bonus baby' for Red Sox, The Boston Globe, 1 April 2008 
  3. ^ a b c Lowe, John (29 March 2008), Conselo was valued Tiger coach, storyteller, Detroit Free Press 
  4. ^ Red Sox Acquire Hyde; Also Get Plews of Senators for Consolo and Wall, The New York Times, 12 June 1959, p. 31 
  5. ^ Twins Get Billy Martin of Braves for Consolo, The New York Times, 2 June 1961, p. 25 
  6. ^ Stewart, Larry (31 March 2008), Either way, it's all in the family, Los Angeles Times, p. 2 

External links[edit]