Old-time baseball player dies in Blauvelt at 92
By Thane Grauel
BLAUVELT - Garton Del Savio, one of professional baseball's oldest veterans, died Thursday after a brief illness at the age of 92.
The shortstop was signed by the Yankees in 1934 and played on its farm team for years. But it wasn't until being traded to the Cincinnati Reds and then the Phillies in 1943 that he made The Bigs - if only to play in four games.
"I remember going to games and watching from behind the dugout," his daughter, Jacqueline Engstrom of Fairfax, Calif., recalled yesterday of her father's career, which ended in the 1950s. "I watched him on TV when he played for the Bushwicks," a Brooklyn semi-pro team.
Del Savio was lifelong friends with 1952 National League MVP Hank Sauer of the Cubs.
The two enlisted in the Coast Guard together during World War II.
After the war and more years of baseball, Del Savio became a supervisor for the New York City Department of Sanitation and then a surgical supply company. He loved woodworking and boats, and, his daughter said, talking about baseball if asked.
"When I watched games with him I learned everything," she said. "He would know everything about statistics, about the team's standings, and interesting information about the ball fields or players he knew."
Stats from his games with the Phillies appear on baseball Web sites, and he was still shown yesterday on lists of the 25 oldest living people to have played in the major leagues. An auction for his autograph was listed on eBay.
Family members were gathered yesterday at Del Savio's home on Western Highway, a Dutch brownstone and brick house built in 1790.
Del Savio was born Nov. 26, 1913, in New York City. He is also survived by a son, Gar Del Savio of Dayton, Ohio; a sister, Edvidge Ciavarelli of Connecticut; four grandchildren; two-great grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
His family will remember him privately today.
Engstrom wasn't certain if her father had a favorite team, but one thing was certain.
"He watched every game to make sure the Yankees would lose," she said. "He hoped the Red Sox would win this year."
DEL SAVIO, GARTON
Garton Del Savio,
resident of Blauvelt for thirty years, died at the age of 92 on Thursday,
November 9, after a short illness. Born 1913 in the Bronx, he was one
of seven siblings. He lived an active childhood playing baseball and
many other sports in the sandlots of the Bronx, and was a three-letter
athlete at Theodore Roosevelt High School. He also learned woodworking
and boat building from his father, and enjoyed boating, fishing and
furniture making throughout his life. He was also a painter of landscapes.
In 1934, he was signed by the New York Yankees organization, and played
professional baseball as a shortstop from 1934 to 1947; he made spring
training numerous times with the Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, and
the Cincinnati Reds. He rose to the majors, and played for the Phillies
in 1943. He was Southern League All Star and played in the Little World
Series while with the Syracuse Chiefs in 1943. His professional appearances
were all over the Eastern United States, as well as in Venezuela and
Cuba, while playing for the Coast Guard. He retired from professional
ball after 1946, but continued to play semi-pro with the Brooklyn Bushwicks.
He also played semi-pro basketball in an organization that would later
become the New York Knicks. After baseball, he worked as a Supervisor
for the Department of Sanitation in New York City, and then in operations
for Stortz Surgical Supply, also in New York. When he retired, he lovingly
restored his colonial house in Blauvelt, fished and sailed on the Hudson
and in the Ocean off Long Beach, New York, and continued to make furniture
in his workshop. Married to Mary Martetto in 1940, (died 2002), he is
survived by his daughter, Jacqueline Engstrom (Robert Cahn) of Fairfax,
California, and Garton Del Savio (Rebecca) of Dayton, Ohio, four grandchildren
and two great-grandchildren. His sister, Edvidge Ciavarelli, of Connecticut,
also survives him, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. His family
is remembering him privately, on Sunday, November 12. In lieu of flowers,
please make donations to the American Heart Association or Disabled
American Veterans. MORITZ FUNERAL HOME 98, Route 303 South Tappan (845)