Card: 1933 Goudey #201
Few people have the talent and good fortune to have successful careers in two such diverse fields as professional sports and the film industry. Ernie Orsatti was one of those lucky few.
Ernest Ralph Orsatti was born in Los Angeles on September 8, 1902. He was the sixth of seven children born to Maurizio and Maria (Manze) Orsatti, Italian immigrants whose names were anglicized to Morris and Mary in the US. Employed as a tailor when the couple were living in Philadelphia, after moving to Los Angeles Morris became the owner of the International Steamship and Railroad Ticket Agency.
Ernie was an outfielder and first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1927 to 1935. Orsatti appeared in four World Series, two of which the Cardinals won.
In his nine-year career with the Cardinals (1927-1935), Orsatti hit .300 or better in six seasons, twice hit over .330, and finished with a lifetime average of .306. The Los Angeles native’s colorful wardrobe also lent a touch of Hollywood glamor to the notoriously unkempt Gas House Gang.
It was during that 1934 season that Orsatti made an appearance as an actor. On June 26, before a game against the Giants, a scene from a murder mystery, Death on the Diamond, was filmed at Sportsman’s Park. In the movie a number of Cardinals players are murdered as part of a plot to keep the team from making it to the World Series. The scene takes place late in the season, when the fictional Cardinals are fighting for the pennant. Orsatti played the role of a player who was shot to death while running the bases.
As successful as it was, Ernie’s baseball career was really an interlude in a more extensive career in Hollywood. Before he became a professional ballplayer, he was a movie stuntman (see him in the Poseidon Adventure falling 30 ft. through a glass skylight at 00:01:50), prop man and bit player.
When his major-league career ended, he and his brothers ran the Orsatti Talent Agency, one of the most influential talent agencies in Los Angeles. One of his brothers was talent agent and producer Victor Orsatti. In 1946, the agency was said to be "third from the top where movie actors' agents get together." He also owned a floral and oddity shop with his brothers-in-law and received royalties on the sales of candy bars in Southern California movie theaters.
Ernie is part of the St. Louis Cardinals Players Tour – Go to the Next Stop
See all of Ernie’s baseball cards at TCDB
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