Player: Raimondi, Billy

Card: 1949 Remar Bread #NA

Position: C

William L. “Billy” Raimondi was born in San Francisco on December 1, 1912, passed away in Alameda October 18,2010 and was raised in Oakland. Billy began his professional baseball career in Phoenix, AZ in 1931 soon after graduating from McClymonds High School.

At the age of 18, baseball enabled him to help support his mother, five brothers, and sister after their father was killed in a hit and run accident near their home in West Oakland. When the Arizona-Texas League folded during the depression in 1932, Billy was sent from the Bisbee team to the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League, where he would become a mainstay for the next 17 years.

Although he got his start in the Arizona-Texas League (1931-1932), he is best known for his 21 seasons in the Pacific Coast League (1932-1953), most of them with the Oakland Oaks. On the last day of the 1943 season, Raimondi played all 9 positions in the game for the Oaks. He also managed the Oaks for part of 1945 and the Magic Valley Cowboys for part of 1956.

Billy was an All-Star catcher for 16 of his 22-year PCL career which ended in 1954 with the Los Angeles Angels. As a catcher, he averaged 131 games a year during his first 17 years, playing a high of 154 games in 1934.

Billy’s best chance at the major leagues came in 1936 when the Yankees sold his contract to Cincinnati. Although he started the season in a Reds uniform, he developed a bad arm. After sitting out most of that season, he returned to the Oaks where he stayed through the 1948 pennant-winning season under Casey Stengel. Billy was the last surviving regular member of that team. From 1956 to 1958 Raimondi was a scout for the Chicago Cubs. All together, Catcher Raimondi collected 1,937 hits in the minor leagues between 1931 and 1953. He hit only 12 HR but stole 112 bases.

He is a member of the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame, inducted in 1950.

His brother Ernie, also a talented ballplayer, was killed January 1945, while serving in WW2 in Europe. He entered military service on June 5, 1944, and within six months Private Ernie Raimondi was in France with Company G, 2nd Battalion of the 324th Infantry Regiment, 44th Infantry Division. In November 1944, the 44th Infantry Division liberated Strasbourg and threw back three German attempts to cross the Blies River near Sarreguemines in December. On January 9, 1945, while defending Sarreguemines, Private Raimondi was fatally wounded. He died on January 26. Ernie was buried at the American Military Cemetery in Epinal, France, but his body was returned home to Oakland in 1948.

(excerpted from Baseball Almanac, BR Bullpen, East Bay Times & Legacy.com)

Image from MiLB.com
billy raimondi image from East Bay Times
Image from East Bay Times
Image from OaklandOaks.tripod.com

Billy is part of the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame Tour – Go to the Next Stop


Billy is also part of the Born in San Fran/Oakland/Sacramento Tour – Go to the Next Stop


See Billy’s baseball cards at TCDB


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John Stefero: played in 79 MLB games over a 3 yr career

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