The Obit For Al Gionfriddo
The New York Times, Sunday, March 16, 2003
Ex-Brooklyn Dodger Al Gionfriddo Dies
03/15/03 03:17 EST
.c The Associated Press
SOLVANG, Calif. (AP) - Al
Gionfriddo, the former Brooklyn Dodgers outfielder who robbed Joe DiMaggio
of a tying home run in the 1947 World Series, died Friday. He was
Gionfriddo was playing golf at
Solvang's Alisal course when he collapsed on the fifth green.
``He was an outstanding ballplayer
and friend,'' former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda told the Santa Barbara
News-Press. ``He wore the Dodger uniform proudly and we're losing a great
Gionfriddo caught DiMaggio's drive
to left field in Game 6 of the 1947 World Series, saving an 8-6 win for
the Dodgers at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees went on to win Game 7 in the
second of many World Series they would take from the Dodgers.
Gionfriddo played just three
seasons in the big leagues - two with the Pittsburgh Pirates and one with
the Dodgers - and had a .266 career batting average. His famous catch was
the last moment he would play in the major leagues.
In a 2002 interview with the
News-Press, Gionfriddo said he still signed autographs for people on the
East Coast who said they saw him make the catch.
``There must have been a million
people in the stands that day,'' he said. ``It was a thrill just to get to
the major leagues. Once you get there, to be able to play in the World
Series is so thrilling.''
Gionfriddo moved to Santa Barbara
in 1963 when he became the first general manager of the Santa Barbara
Dodgers, a short-lived minor league team. He had been living in Solvang
Gionfriddo had just returned from a
vacation in Hawaii where he celebrated his 81st birthday.
John Pate, a longtime golfing
partner of Gionfriddo's and father of PGA Tour player Steve Pate, was
playing a few holes ahead of Gionfriddo when he collapsed.
``He had just returned from Hawaii
and shot a 76 at the Alisal,'' Pate told the News-Press. ``I played with
him on Thursday and he was absolutely ecstatic.''
Gionfriddo is survived by wife Sue
and four children.