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Armand Joseph "Big Ben" Cardoni (b. August 21, 1920 in Jessup, PA – d. April 2, 1969 in Jessup, PA) was a Major League Baseball pitcher. The son of Italian immigrants Alfonso Cardoni, a coal miner, and Adelle (Mezzanotte) Cardoni, Big Ben was born in Jessup, Pennsylvania, about 10 miles east of Scranton. His time in MLB consisted of pitching parts of three seasons for the wartime Boston Braves. In 36 games, he finished 0-6 with a 4.76 ERA in 107 2/3 innings.
With a weak heart that would eventually fail prematurely and a 4-F designation that allowed him to play wartime ball at the highest level, Ben Cardoni failed to record a win in 36 appearances for the Boston Braves from 1943 to 1945 but did manage a quartet of single milestones with exactly one career complete game, double play, RBI, and save. Oddly for someone with such an obscure career, Cardoni was linked to a trio of eventual Hall of Famers in 1946, after his time in major-league baseball had ended.
In June 1946, Brooklyn general manager Branch Rickey traded second baseman Billy Herman to Boston for catcher Stew Hofferth and got Cardoni as a player-to-be-named-later throw-in. Rickey “was so high on the pitcher at one time that he was prepared to give up $25,000 for him." Therefore, thanks to the trade of a Hall of Fame player (Herman) by a Hall of Fame general manager (Rickey), Cardoni got to play with another Hall of Fame player in his first season in the Brooklyn organization: Jackie Robinson. He was part of the 1946 Montreal Royals who went 100-54, starring Jackie Robinson in a key role.
His minor league career stretched at least 15 years. Ben went 14-2 for Albany in 1952 and, the following season, was 15-9 for Albany and Scranton. Ben also managed the Hazleton Mountaineers for part of 1949. After baseball, he owned a tavern.
Ben is also part of the Braves Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop
See Ben’s baseball cards at TCDB
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