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ping bodie, 1915 Cracker Jack #79, chicago americans

Player: Ping Bodie

Card: 1915 Cracker Jack #79

Position: CF/RF/LF/1B

In describing an unsuccessful steal by Bodie, Bugs Baer wrote “Ping had larceny in his heart, but his feet were honest.

Bodie describing a homer: “I rammycackled the old persimmon” or “I really hemstitched the spheroid” or “I whaled the old onion.”

Born Francesco Stephano Pezzolo, “Ping” was a center fielder in Major League Baseball who played for the Chicago White Sox (1911–1914), Philadelphia Athletics (1917) and New York Yankees (1919–1921). He was born in San Francisco to Rose De Martini and Joseph Pezzolo, both born in Italy.

To avoid discrimination, he took the surname Bodie from the California town he once lived in. As an example, he was faced off in a spaghetti-eating contest versus Percy the ostrich in April 1919.

One of the most feared sluggers in the 1910s, Bodie was nicknamed “Ping” for the sound made when his fifty-two-ounce bat crashed into the “dead” ball of his era. Another nickname given to him was “The Wonderful Wop.” Along with Ed Abbaticchio, he was the first Italian-American ballplayer to make significant contributions in the major leagues.

Bodie played with the San Francisco Seals in 1910 hitting 30 home runs that season, the most home runs any player, majors or minors, had ever hit in a single season at that time.

After being sold to the Yankees, and before the Ruth/Gehrig/Meusel era, he was part of the original “murderer’s row” lineup along with Wally Pipp, and Frank “Home Run” Baker. While a Yankee, he was assigned as a roommate with Babe Ruth. When the press asked how it was to room with the legendary Ruth, Bodie famously responded that he didn’t room with Babe, but with “his suitcase”, alluding to Ruth’s infamous late hours.

It said that Bodie, with his self-confidence and ability to turn a phrase, provided much of the inspiration for Ring Lardner’s creation of the famous baseball fictional series “You Know Me Al“. Appearing originally in the Saturday Evening Post, the piece was written in the form of letters written by a bush league baseball player to a friend back home.

After retiring from baseball, Bodie became an electrician on movie sets, and a favorite of star actors and actresses. As for his confidence, when asked at age 73 if he could still hit, he said “give me a mace and I’ll drive the pumpkin down Whitey Ford’s throat.

(excerpted from Wikipedia, BR Bullpen, and Reaching for the Stars)

1912 T207 Recruit – Brown Background
2009 Italian American Baseball Heroes #11
Photo from “What’s on the 6th Floor” Blog

Ping is part of the Born in San Fran/Oakland/Sacramento Tour – Go to the Next Stop


Bodie is also part of the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame Tour – Go to the Next Stop


Francesco is also part of the New York Yankee Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop


Francesco is also part of the Chicago White Sox Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop


See all Ping’s baseball cards at TCDB


Visit a random Italian American MLB player:

Jess "Shine" Cortazzo: one MLB at-bat for the White Sox in 1923

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