Sunday, May 17, 2009

#74 Red Sox Rookie Stars: Rico Petrocelli and Jerry Stephenson

#74 Red Sox Rookie Stars: Rico Petrocelli and Jerry Stephenson
Just how off-center is Rico Petrocelli's hat logo? Very, I would say. It's also worth noting that this is the only multi-rookie card so far to feature a partially visible uniform number; it's most likely #38, which Rico wore in 1963 and 1965 before switching to #6. Jerry Stephenson's background is impossibly blue, don't you think?

Fun facts about Rico Petrocelli:

-Brooklyn-born Rico signed with the Red Sox at age 18 in 1961.

-Was Boston's starting shortstop as a rookie in 1965, and showed power right from the start with 13 home runs in 323 at-bats.

-Was an All-Star in 1967, with .259 average, 17 HR, 66 RBI. Had only four hits in a World Series loss to the Cardinals, but three of them were for extra bases (1 2B, 2 HR).

-Had a breakout season in 1969 (.297, 32 2B, 40 HR, 97 RBI), setting a league record for home runs as a shortstop. He earned the second (and final) All-Star selection of his career.

-Led the A.L. in fielding at his position in 1968 (.978) and 1969 (.981).

-Switched to third base in 1971 and didn't miss a beat, driving in a personal best 103 runs and again leading the loop in fielding percentage (.976).

-Nearing the end of his career, had a good run in the 1975 World Series, hitting .308 in the Sox' seven-game loss to the Reds.

-Retired in 1976, having hit .251 with 210 home runs in twelve-plus seasons (all with Boston). He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1997.

-Managed in the minor leagues for several seasons with the Appleton Foxes (1986), Birmingham Barons (1987-1988), and Pawtucket Red Sox (1992).

-Currently lives in southern New Hampshire with his wife and runs his own business in Nashua. He works at baseball clinics and in radio.

Fun facts about Jerry Stephenson:

-His father, Joe Stephenson, was a catcher who played 29 games for the Giants, Cubs, and White Sox in the 1940s.

-A native Detroiter, Jerry signed with Boston in 1961, straight out of high school.

-After a cup of coffee in 1963, got a longer look in 1965. Earned his first big-league win on May 23, striking out nine Indians in six innings of work.

-His best "season" of major league ball consisted of eight games in 1967, when he went 3-1 with a save and a 3.86 ERA.

-Five-hit the Indians for a rare complete-game win on April 20, 1968. Also walked seven, but struck out seven as well to escape with the 3-2 victory.

-After a brutal tour of duty in 1968 (2-8, 5.64 ERA), he was hit hard in short stints with the 1969 Pilots and 1970 Dodgers. Finished 8-19 with a 5.70 ERA in parts of seven seasons.

-Had fifteen career hits in 65 at-bats (.231 AVG); the best pitched to allow a hit to Jerry was probably Jim Kaat.

-His son Brian pitched in the Cubs and Dodgers minor league systems from 1994-2001.
#74 Red Sox Rookie Stars: Rico Petrocelli and Jerry Stephenson (back)


  1. Petrocelli's brother worked as an usher at Yankee Stadium in the late 60s. He once told us he was 'authorized' to sign autographs on Rico's behalf. We somehow passed up that tempting opportunity. ;-)

  2. Bob - Now there's a brush with greatness, haha.