The Obit For Billy Raimondi

William L. "Billy" Raimondi

Published in Inside Bay Area from October 27 to October 28, 2010

William L. "Billy" Raimondi 1912 - 2010

Resident of Alameda, William L. ("Billy") Raimondi was born in San Francisco on December 1, 1912 and was raised in Oakland.

Billy began his professional baseball career in Phoenix, AZ in 1931 soon after graduating from McClymonds High School. At the age of 18, baseball enabled him to help support his mother, five brothers, and sister after their father was killed in a hit and run accident near their home in West Oakland.

When the Arizona-Texas League folded during the depression in 1932, Billy was sent from the Bisbee team to the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League, where he would become a mainstay for the next 17 years.

Billy was an All-Star catcher for 16 of his 22-year PCL career which ended in 1954 with the Los Angeles Angels. As a catcher, he averaged 131 games a year during his first 17 years, playing a high of 154 games in 1934. Billy's best chance at the major leagues came in 1936 when the Yankees sold his contract to Cincinnati.

Although he started the season in Reds uniform, he developed a bad arm. After sitting out most of that season, he returned to the Oaks where he stayed through the 1948 pennant-winning season under Casey Stengel. Billy was the last surviving regular member of that team.

Billy was noted for being a smart player, timely hitter, and an outstanding defensive catcher who worked well with pitchers. His lifetime batting average was 274. He was one of the first catchers to wear glasses behind the plate. He was also one of the rare players who were adept at stealing home - something he did several times during his career. In one game, he played every position, and he managed the Oaks for half of the 1945 season.

After baseball, he worked many years for the Forman Supply Company and later retired from the Circulation Department of the Oakland Tribune. Ironically, his first job was selling newspapers as a school boy.

Billy is survived by his wife of 73 years, Frances. His 3 children, daughters June (Jim) Ogden and Judy Harris, son Bill (Cathy) Raimondi Jr. Eight grandchildren and 13 great children, sister Lorraine Dahl.

Family and friends are invited to a Memorial Mass on Saturday, October 30, 2010 at 11:00 am, St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, High Street and Van Buren, Alameda, CA.

A celebration of his life will be held immediately following the mass in the parish hall. Interment private St. Mary's Cemetery, Oakland.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his name to; the Association of Professional Ball Players of America, 101 South Kraemer Avenue, Suite 223, Placentia, CA 92870 or to the Alameda Christian School, 2226 Pacific Avenue, Alameda, CA 94501-1429.

For further information please call: Harry W. Greer, Funeral Director (CA Lic. FDR 745). Santos-Robinson Mortuary San Leandro Cal Lic. FD-61 510-483-0123