|First baseman / Outfielder|
December 3, 1959 |
Tito Angelo Nanni (December 3, 1959 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a former professional baseball player. Over his career, Nanni primarily played first base and outfield. Nanni played in the Seattle Mariners organization for the majority of his career, but also spent part of a season in the California Angels organization, and the Toronto Blue Jays organization. Despite playing for the aforementioned organizations and being a high draft pick, Nanni never made an appearance in Major League Baseball. He is considered to be one of the worst first-round draft picks of all-time. Nanni played seven seasons in minor league baseball, and had a career batting average of .253 with a .384 slugging percentage, 701 hits, 122 doubles, 22 triples, and 66 home runs in 2775 at-bats.
For high school, Nanni attended Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Nanni is a hall of fame member at his school. During his athletics career at Chestnut Hill, Nanni played baseball, basketball, and football. He was captain and the most valuable player for each sport he played. He was an All-City selection if football, an All-Inter-Ac for basketball, and All-City and All-American for baseball.
Nanni was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the first round (sixth pick overall) of the 1978 Major League Baseball Draft. He was signed on August 22, and was assigned to the Arizona League Mariners. The chief scout for the Seattle Mariners who signed Nanni, Mel Didier, was later fired because the Mariners claimed Nanni's $100,000 contract violated Major League Baseball regulations. Nanni began his professional career with the Class-A Alexandria Mariners of the Carolina League in 1979. He batted .226 with 91 hits, 19 doubles, 1 triple, and 6 home runs. The next season, 1980, Nanni batted a combined .229 between the Class-A Wausau Timbers and the Class-A San Jose Missions. With the Missions, Nanni batted .199 with 38 hits, 6 doubles, 2 triples, and 3 home runs. With the Timbers, he batted .253 with 60 hits, 8 doubles, and 12 home runs. His 12 home runs that year were tied for third on the Wausau club with Jim Presley.
On March 27, 1981, after spring training, Nanni was assigned to the Triple-A Spokane Indians, however, he played only for the Double-A Lynn Sailors that season. With Lynn, Nanni batted .249 with 90 hits, 14 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs, 40 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases in 116 games. On March 11, 1982, the Mariners re-signed Nanni. That season, Nanni continued to play for the Double-A Lynn Sailors. He batted .293 with 71 runs scored, 139 hits, 25 doubles, 5 triples, 16 home runs, 77 RBIs, and 32 stolen bases in 134 games. He was first on the team in hits; tied for first in doubles; second in home runs, RBIs, and runs scored; and was third in triples. In 1983, Nanni was promoted to the Triple-A Salt Lake City Gulls of the Pacific Coast League. He batted .240 with 100 hits, 18 doubles, 5 triples, 11 home runs, 52 RBIs, and 28 stolen bases in 122 games. Nanni's last season in the Mariners' organization would come in the 1984 season with the Triple-A Salt Lake City Gulls. He batted .273 with 127 hits, 23 doubles, 7 triples, and 6 home runs in 135 games. Nanni was tied for first with Jamie Allen in doubles; and was third in hits, and triples.
In 1985, Nanni spent spring training with the Chicago Cubs and on March 22, he was reassigned to their minor league camp. On April 2, before the start of the season, Nanni was traded to the California Angels for pitcher Ángel Moreno. California then assigned Nanni to the Double-A Midland Angels of the Texas League. He batted .263 with 44 hits, 6 doubles, and 4 home runs in 53 games with Midland that season. Nanni later wound-up in the Toronto Blue Jays organization where he was assigned to the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs. He finished out the 1985 season with the Chiefs batting .200 with 12 hits, 3 doubles, 1 triple, and 1 home run in 18 games.
Alan Schwarz, special reporter to ESPN.com, rated Nanni as the worst #6 baseball draft pick of all-time, and claimed that Jerry Krause, a scout for the Mariners at the time of the draft, insisted the Mariners pick Kirk Gibson. On June 5, 2006, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer named Nanni was the worst pick of all-time made by the Mariners citing the fact that they could have chosen Ryne Sandberg, Cal Ripken, Jr., Kirk Gibson or Dave Stieb, all of whom were in the same draft and were selected after Nanni. Larry Stone, writer for The Seattle Times, described Nanni and players Stone claimed were like Nanni, including Bucky Jacobsen, Jim Maler, and Paul McAnulty, as "...guys that can hit the ball a mile, that put up tremendous minor-league statistics, but for some reason or another...can't make their mark in the major leagues."
- Alan Schwarz (June 3, 2005). "From A-Rod ... to a guy named Chilcott". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- "June boons and swoons: The best and worst of Mariner draft picks". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Hearst Seattle Media, LLC. June 5, 2006. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- "Athletics: Hall of Fame". Chestnut Hill Academy Athletics. Chestnut Hill Academy. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- "1978 Seattle Mariners Draft Picks". The Baseball Cube. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- "Rookie Signs". United Press International. The Bryan Times. August 22, 1978. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- "Pick Signs". Associated Press. Spokane Daily Chronicle. August 23, 1978. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- "Bench sees big overhaul of Red machine for 1979". The Montreal Gazette. September 28, 1978. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- "1980 Wausau Timbers". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- "Mariners moves". St. Petersburg Times. March 27, 1981. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- "Seattle Mariners sign eight". United Press International. The Montreal Gazette. March 11, 1982. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- "1982 Lynn Sailors". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- "1984 Salt Lake City Gulls". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- "Transactions: National League". Spokane Chronicle. March 22, 1985. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- "Baseball moves: National League". Reading Eagle. April 2, 1985. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- Larry Stone (September 8, 2009). "An ode to lumbering minor-league sluggers". The Seattle Times. The Seattle Times Company. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- "Roster - Baseball: Ryan Nanni". University of Delaware Athletics. University of Delaware. Retrieved May 4, 2010.