Card: 2018 Carl Aldana Art Card #NA (No back)
"Bob DiPietro's major-league career was a true cup of coffee – 12 plate appearances in four games at the tail end of the 1951 season, one hit, one walk and a .091 batting average. In three games as an outfielder, he had four putouts, one error, and one assist – but what an assist it was! He threw out Mickey Mantle at home plate at Yankee Stadium." - Baseball Historian Nicholas Diunte (SABR Biography Project, 'Bob DiPietro')
Robert Louis Paul DiPietro (b. September 1, 1927 in San Francisco, CA – d. September 3, 2012 in Yakima, WA) who was an American professional baseball player, an outfielder whose career lasted for 13 seasons (1947–1959). He had a brief trial as a right fielder in Major League Baseball for the Boston Red Sox during the final month of the 1951 season.
Bob was born to Angelo and Relsa DiPietro. Angelo was an immigrant from Italy who by the time of the 1930 Census owned a barber shop in San Francisco. Relsa was a native Californian whose parents came from New York.
Bob enlisted on the army in 1945. “I was in right at the end. I stayed Stateside and was in for only 13 months. My father had died, and I got out on a dependency discharge in 1947. The war was over. It was just a matter of mopping up."
The day Bob made his major league debut, September 23, 1951, everything was right in the Red Sox camp. They were set to make a run for the flag, just a few games behind the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians in the race. As the game goes, DiPietro had arrived on the scene of one of the biggest collapses in Red Sox history. They lost their last nine games in a row, seven of them to the Yankees. Cleveland followed suit, losing their last four, handing the New York team the pennant.
He played in four of his team's last nine games, coming to the plate a total of eleven times, garnering one base hit, a single; he picked up one base on balls and struck out one time. The 24-year-old had the experience of a lifetime, watching as his team went through a monumental collapse to lose the title.
DiPietro's one hit, a single in his fourth and final game September 30 against Spec Shea of the New York Yankees, resulted in an overall .091 batting average. He did not score a run or collect an RBI. As a fielder, he appeared in three games and recorded four outs with one assist and committed one error for a .833 fielding percentage.
However, he did collect one assist... but what an assist it was! He threw out Mickey Mantle at home plate at Yankee Stadium. DiPietro earned his nickname, "The Rigatoni Rifle", by throwing out Mickey Mantle at home plate at Yankee Stadium. Jokingly, he said, it was “all downhill after that.”
He later played for the PCL San Francisco Seals. DiPietro his .269 with the Seals in 1954. In ’55, playing in 64 games, he batted an astounding .371. One would think this might have paved the way for a return to the big leagues, and, according to DiPietro, it almost happened, until fate intervened. “From what I had heard, there was a deal that was all put together with Kansas City. One night, I tried to stretch a double into a triple, and I broke my leg. That was the end of my year.
He retired after the 1959 season with Portland. He moved to Yakima, Washington, and worked in TV advertising sales and then opened his own advertising agency in 1967. He ran the agency until he retired in 1999, and turned it over to his oldest son Bob Jr., who was a first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1974 out of Stanford University. The younger DiPietro suffered a career-ending elbow injury and after an unsuccessful surgery, he followed his father’s footsteps into the advertising arena.
Bob DiPietro is part of the Born in San Fran/Oakland/Sacramento Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Bob is also part of the Boston Red Sox Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
“The Rigatoni Rifle” is part of the Great Italian American Player Nicknames Tour – Go to the Next Stop
See Bob’s baseball cards at TCDB
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