Joe Presko

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Joe Presko.jpg

Joseph Edward Presko
(Baby Joe or Little Joe)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Nineteen-year-old Joe Presko was signed as an amateur free agent by the St. Louis Cardinals before the 1948 season. The 5' 10" right-hander spent three seasons (1948-1950) in the minor leagues, going 16-8 with a 2.70 ERA for the St. Joseph Cardinals his first year out, helping his team to the Western Association pennant. He was with the Omaha Cardinals in 1949, winning 14 and losing 9, and in 1950 appeared in the AA Texas League with the Houston Buffaloes going 16-16 with a 3.14 ERA but leading the league with 165 strikeouts.

Presko had his only winning season in six years in the majors as a rookie in 1951 with a 7-4 mark. He was with the St. Louis Cardinals as a part-time starter through 1954 before returning to the minors and the Omaha Cardinals in 1955. Joe fell to a 6-10 record with a 4.53 ERA that season. On November 27, 1955 he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 1955 Rule V Draft. Joe had a decent year with the AAA Charleston Senators in 1956 with a 9-7 record and a 3.73 ERA. He spent time with both Charleston and Detroit in the 1957 and 1958 seasons, finishing out his major league six-year run at 25-37 with a 3.38 ERA.

Presko tried the minors for one more year in 1959, going 4-8 with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Charleston Senators. He decided at age 30 that he had seen enough and finished up his pro baseball career in the minors with a 77-68 record and a 3.46 ERA.

He lived in his native Kansas City, MO, where he was employed in security for the Brinks Armored Car Company before his retirement. He passed away at his home at the age of 90 in 2019.

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