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lou chiozza, 1939 diamond stars #80, phillies

Player: Chiozza, Lou

Card: 1939 Diamond Stars #80

Position: 2B/3B/CF

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Louis Peo Chiozza is a former professional baseball player who played a total of six seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Giants of Major League Baseball.

Chiozza was born in Tallulah, Louisiana and as a youngster, Lou's family moved to Memphis, Tennessee where he developed into an all-around athlete engaging in basketball, boxing, track, football and handball, as well as baseball. As a multi-sport star in High School, Lou suffered a serious knee injury while playing football which almost ended his career, yet he came back from that to become one of the fastest men in professional baseball.

In 1935, Lou's brother, Dino Chiozza was also drafted by the Phillies and they were one of the first sets of brothers to play on the same team in major league baseball. Another brother, Joe, also played professional baseball but did not make it out of the minor leagues.

While playing for the Phillies, Chiozza was the first major league player in history to bat in a major league night game. He was the leadoff man for the Phillies when he appeared against the Reds in Cincinnati in the first night game in the majors on May 24, 1935.

On May 29, 1935, the Phillies were playing against the Boston Braves at Baker Bowl, the old cracker-box park of the old Philadelphia Nationals. Babe Ruth, playing left field at age 40 for the Braves, had been through for years but was still being exploited for his name. Just a few days before the Philadelphia series, the Babe hit three home runs in Pittsburgh. Chiozza, who had just been brought up from the Memphis Chicks, hit a short fly ball down the left field line that would have ordinarily at best been a double.

Due to his advanced age and decreased mobility, Ruth stumbled after the ball in the outfield. The shortstop ran out, retrieved the ball and threw the ball home to barely stop Chiozza from an inside-the-park home run. Many in the park believed that the umpire felt sorry for the aging star and called an obviously safe Chiozza out at home plate. After Ruth realized that he was so slow that Lou almost made a home run on an ordinary base hit, he stood for a minute, folded his glove and walked off the field into the clubhouse.

The Babe knew he was done and he officially retired a few days later on June 2, 1935. Chiozza recalled in his later life that he had wished Ruth had retired on a high note after hitting the three home runs in Pittsburgh rather than waiting to play the next series in Philadelphia.

(excerpted from Baseball Almanac, BR Bullpen & Wikipedia)


1939 Play Ball #58
1940 Play Ball #157


Lou is also part of the New York/SF Giants Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop

Lou is also part of the Philadelphia Phillies Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop

See Lou’s baseball cards at TCDB

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