Card: 1952 Bowman #200
Kenneth Joseph Silvestri (May 3, 1916 – March 31, 1992) was an American professional baseball player, coach and manager. During his 16-year professional playing career, he was a backup catcher in the Major Leagues over eight seasons scattered between 1939 through 1951, appearing for the Chicago White Sox (1939–40), New York Yankees (1941; 1946–47) and Philadelphia Phillies (1950–51).
Silvestri was born in Chicago and attended Purdue University. As a young boy, he was adopted by Joseph and Florence Silvestri. The details of Ken’s birth parents are obscure; according to his son, he would never discuss his biological parents. “The one time I asked him about it, all he would say was, ‘Joseph and Florence are your grandparents,’” Ken Silvestri Jr., said. Records indicate Florence (Horn) Daley Silvestri was Ken’s biological mother. Ken’s father was John Daley, born Chicago about 1881. Florence, apparently divorced, and then married Joseph Silvestri about 1927. It was Joseph who adopted Kenneth (whether officially or not) and, evidently, changed his middle name to Joseph. He was born Kenneth L. Daley.
He made his big league debut with the Chicago White Sox in 1939. He served in the U.S. Army from December 1941 to November 1945.
As a member of the 1950 "Whiz Kid" Phillies, he appeared in Game 2 of the 1950 World Series as a defensive replacement, spelling starting catcher Andy Seminick and handling Baseball Hall of Famer Robin Roberts for two scoreless innings. However, the opposing Yankees broke through to win the game after Silvestri was removed for a pinch hitter in the ninth. The surprisingly good '50 Phillies also featured several other Italian American players including Milo Candini, "Putsy" Caballero, and Jimmy Bloodworth.
After the 1951 season, Ken’s last as a major-league player, he spent the next forty years in baseball, as a scout, minor-league instructor, manager, player-manager, and major-league coach. During the off-seasons, he worked a variety of jobs; he was a store detective for Sears, a bartender, and an insurance salesman, among others.
Ken managed in the minor leagues in the Yankee farm system and coached for the Phillies (1952–53; 1959–60), Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves (1963–75) and the White Sox (1976; 1982), working as a minor league instructor for Chicago from 1977–81. He also managed the Atlanta Braves for the final three games of the 1967 season after skipper Billy Hitchcock was fired. He died in Tallahassee, Florida at age 75.
Silvestri is also part of the Military Service during Wartime Tour – go to the Next Stop
Ken is part of the Born in Chicago Tour – Next Stop
Hawk is also part of the MLB Managers Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Ken is also part of the Philadelphia Phillies Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Ken is also part of the New York Yankee Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop
Ken is also part of the Chicago White Sox Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop
“Hawk” is part of the Great Italian American Player Nicknames Tour – Go to the Next Stop
See Ken’s baseball cards at TCDB
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