Card: 1962 Topps #247
Joseph Benjamin Pignatano (born August 4, 1929 in Brooklyn, NY, d. 2022 in Naples, FL) was a retired American professional baseball player and coach. Joe played six years in the majors and appeared in the 1959 World Series. He became the first big leaguer to hit into a triple play in his final major league at-bat.
The former catcher appeared in 307 games in the Major Leagues during all or part of six seasons (1957–62) for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers (1957–60), Kansas City Athletics (1961), San Francisco Giants (1962) and New York Mets (1962). He is a Brooklyn native and lifelong resident of Brooklyn and Staten Island in New York City. He signed with his hometown Dodgers in 1948, and spent almost seven full seasons (interrupted by two years of military service) in their farm system before three brief auditions with the 1957 big-league team.
On Tuesday, September 24, 1957, Pignatano was behind the plate during the final five innings of the Brooklyn Dodgers' last home game, played at Ebbets Field against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He relieved starting catcher (and future Baseball Hall of Famer) Roy Campanella in the top of the fifth inning with the Dodgers leading 2–0 and helped guide pitcher Danny McDevitt to a complete game shutout victory. The Dodgers played their final three games in 1957 on the road against the Philadelphia Phillies, then moved to Los Angeles during the off-season.
Joe played a key role in the Dodgers' late-season 1959 pennant drive, which ended in a flat-footed tie between the Dodgers and Milwaukee Braves. In the flag-clinching Game 2 of the National League playoff series, Pignatano entered the contest as a pinch runner for Norm Larker in the ninth inning, then took over as catcher in the tenth, replacing Roseboro. In the 12th, with two out and Gil Hodges on base, Pignatano singled off Bob Rush to keep the inning alive and send Hodges to second. The next hitter, Carl Furillo, delivered the game- and pennant-winning run on an infield hit and an error by Braves' shortstop Félix Mantilla.
After his 15-year professional playing career ended in 1964, Pignatano was a coach for the Washington Senators (1965–67), New York Mets (1968–81) and Atlanta Braves (1982–84), working under Hodges from 1965–71 and earning a second World Series ring with the 1969 "Miracle Mets." He is also related to two other former Met players, pitchers Pete Falcone and John Franco, both cousins.
Joe is part of the New York City Born Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Joe is also part of the Military Service during Wartime Tour – go to the Next Stop
Joe is also part of the LA/Brooklyn Dodgers Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Joe is also part of the New York/SF Giants Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop
Joe is also part of the Athletics Player Tour – Go To the Next Stop
See all Pignatano’s baseball cards at TCDB
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