Card: 1974 TCMA #NA
John Lucadello (February 22, 1919 – October 30, 2001) was an American professional baseball player. Primarily a second baseman, he appeared in 239 Major League games for the St. Louis Browns (1938–1941; 1946) and New York Yankees (1947). He was the brother of longtime MLB scout Tony Lucadello.
Overall, Johnny spent sixteen active seasons in professional baseball in a career that spanned three decades from 1936 to 1955. Johnny was born in Thurber, TX, situated between Fort Worth and Abilene, which was the largest and most prosperous coal-mining town in Texas. The town’s population of nearly 10,000 was made up predominantly of Italians, Poles, and Germans, most of them miners recruited overseas by the Texas and Pacific Coal Company.
One of those recruits was Domenico Lucadello, a native of San Zenone degli Ezzelini, Italy, a village near Venice. Domenico left Italy for Thurber in 1904 at the age of twenty-nine. There he married Maria Donesco, another Italian immigrant. John was the youngest of their seven children. By the time he was born, the conversion of America’s railroads from coal to diesel fuel had caused a steep decline in the coal market. When Texas and Pacific began to close the mines and brickworks and sell its company housing, the Lucadellos moved to Chicago, where Domenico landed a job as a coal loader.
Growing up in the Little Italy section of Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood, Johnny and his brother Tony developed a passion for baseball. Johnny taught himself how to hit from both sides of the plate and how to scoop ground balls off the rough, uneven surfaces of the Chicago sandlots and he became a standout player on the Christian Fenger Academy High School baseball team.
In 1940, Johnny led the American Association in hitting (BA .334) and was poised for MLB stardom when America’s entry into World War II put his baseball career on hold. Having already begun war-related work in the off-season as a laborer in an ammunition plant in St. Louis, he enlisted in the navy in March 1942.
Lucadello was discharged from service on October 16, 1945. He returned to the Browns for 87 games in 1946, but batted only .248 and was selected off waivers by the New York Yankees. He played just 12 games with the Yankees in 1947 in what was to be his last year in the major leagues. He was with Newark in 1948, Kansas City in 1949 and had stops in the Pacific Coast League, Southern Association, Mississippi-Ohio Valley League and Big State League before retiring after the 1955 season. After being returned to the minors, Johnny never made it back to the Major Leagues, but he put together a journeyman’s career in the minors for nearly a decade.
Tragedy struck the Lucadellos in 1989 when Johnny’s brother, Tony, shot himself to death on a baseball diamond in Fostoria, Ohio. Tony had signed more than fifty future major leaguers in a fifty-year career as one of the game’s most acclaimed scouts, but none made him more proud than his first signing, his brother Johnny.
Johnny is part of the Military Service during Wartime Tour – go to the Next Stop
Johnny is also part of the New York Yankee Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop
See all of Johnny’s baseball cards at TCDB
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