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"(Larry) Ciaffone was rated as one of the best all-around receivers in the minors last season and stands an excellent chance of taking over the first string job with the Cardinals, according to a number of scouts who saw him operate. Larry is a master at holding up pitchers, paces them nicely and calls his pitches almost letter perfect. In addition he has a strong throwing arm and prevents base occupants from taking liberties with him. His heady work is what caused the Cardinal scouts to recommend that the Brooklyn boy be brought up to the parent body." - Brooklyn Eagle (Gary Bedingfield, 'Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice: Frank Ciaffone')
Lawrence Thomas Ciaffone (b. August 17, 1924 in Brooklyn, NY – d. December 14, 1991 in Brooklyn, NY), nicknamed "Symphony Larry", was an American professional baseball player who had a ten-year pro playing career (1946–55), largely as an outfielder, catcher and first baseman.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, he attended Abraham Lincoln High School, where he was a teammate of and catcher for his cousin Frank Ciaffone, a star pitcher. Both signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers upon graduation but their baseball careers were delayed by military service in World War II.
Larry entered the United States Army, and saw combat at the Battle of the Bulge in 1944–45. Frank enlisted in the United States Marines and fought in the Pacific Theater of Operations, participating in the Battle of Iwo Jima. During the course of the invasion of the Japanese stronghold, Frank Ciaffone, 19, was fatally wounded on March 3, 1945.
Outfielder/catcher Larry Ciaffone was signed as an amateur free agent by the Brooklyn Dodgers before the 1946 season and played with the Newport News Dodgers in the Piedmont League, where he hit .281 with 6 homers in 136 games. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals on November 5, 1946 in the minor league draft. Larry spent five years in the minors (1946-1950) before getting a call from the big league Cardinals in 1951.
Larry had a top-notch year in 1948 when he hit a league-leading .373 with 14 homers for the Allentown Cardinals of the Interstate League and was the catcher on the league's the All-Star team. Again with Allentown in 1949, he hit .323 with 15 homers and, the following year, had another good season with the Rochester Red Wings, helping his team to the International League pennant, hitting .324 with 10 homers.
Larry was a career minor leaguer, with the exception of 5 games with the Cardinals in 1951, during which he was hitless in five at-bats and made a putout in the outfield. Ciaffone spent the rest of 1951 with Rochester where he finished the year hitting .240. Larry played four more seasons in the high minors, having a good year in 1953 with the Houston Buffaloes of the Texas League hitting .304 in 141 games. Larry finished his career in 1955 with the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern Association. In 978 minor league games, he hit .304 with 65 home runs.
Larry remained in baseball as a scout for the Cardinals and the New York Mets. He also worked with former Boston Braves star Tommy Holmes in Brooklyn youth baseball programs. Outside of baseball, he owned a Brooklyn restaurant for several years and worked in sales for the Pitney-Bowles Corporation. Ciaffone died in Brooklyn on December 14, 1991 at 67 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery there.
Larry is part of the New York City Born Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Larry is also part of the Military Service during Wartime Tour – go to the Next Stop
Ciaffone is also part of the St. Louis Cardinals Players Tour – Go to the Next Stop
“Symphony Larry” is part of the Great Italian American Player Nicknames Tour – Go to the Next Stop
See Larry’s baseball cards at TCDB
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