Sunday, August 10, 2014

Happy Baseball Birthday...Rocky Colovito

Happy Baseball Birthday! to former big league slugger Rocky Colovito.

Rocco Domenico Colovito was born on August 10, 1933 in New York, New York.

Rocky attended Roosevelt High School in NYC, and signed as a amateur free agent with the Cleveland Indians in 1951.

Rocky made his big league debut with Cleveland on September 10, 1955, and came up to stay in 1956, hitting .276 in 101 games, scoring 55 runs,  slugging 21 home runs, with 65 RBI,  in 322 at bats.

Those 21 home runs started a streak of 11 consecutive 20+ home run seasons, 1956-66,  including three 40+ HR years, '58, '59, '61.

With the Tribe in '58 Rocky smashed 41 home runs, with 113 RBI, batting .303, and leading the American League in slugging percentage at .620.

In '59 the Indians slugger smacked a American League leading 42 HR, driving in 111 Tribe runners, making his first American League All-Star team.

Just before the start of the 1960 season the Cleveland Indians shocked the baseball world by trading Colovito to the Detroit Tigers for 1959 American League batting champion Harvey Kuenn.

Indians fans loved the slugging Colovito, and Tigers fans loved Kuenn, and neither set of fans were very happy.

Colivito and the Tigers would prove to be the winners of the trade.

One of my favorite baseball cards in my collection is the 1962 Topps card of him in his classic Tigers road uniform.

In 4 years alongside future Hall of Fame RF Al Kaline, Colivito smashed 139 home runs, 45 of them coming in 1961, along with 140 RBI, a .296 average and his first All Star Game as a Tigers player.

Following the 1963 season the Tigers traded Rocky to the Kansas City Athletics,  after a 22 HR, 91 RBI season.

Rocky hit 34 HR, with 102 RBI for the '64 A's, who then traded Colovito back to his original team, the Indians.

Colovito promptly smacked 26 homers and drove in an American League leading 108 base runners in 1965.

In '66 Rocky slugged 30 homers and had 72 RBI, making his final All-Star Game.

In the middle of the '67 season, on July 29th, the Tribe sent Colovito to the Chicago White Sox, who  then sold Rocky to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

On July 7, 1968, the Dodgers released Rocky, who signed with the New York Yankees on July 15th.

The Yankees then released Rocky at the end of the 1968 season, Rocky's final year in the big leagues.

In his 14 years in the big leagues,  Rocky Colivito played in 1,841 ball games, collecting 1,730 base hits, 282 doubles,  21 triples, 374 home runs, 1.159 RBI, and 971 runs scored.

In the field Rocky made just 70 errors in 3, 516 chances, finishing with a .980 fielding percentage.

Colovito coached in the big leagues after his playing days, with the Indians in the 1970s and the Kansas City Royals in the 1980s.

Rocky Colovito was named to the Indians All Century Team in 2001, and was Inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame.

 Happy Baseball Birthday! wishes to the Rock, Rocky Colovito!


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