John Anthony Cangelosi
- Bats Both, Throws Left
- Height 5' 8", Weight 160 lb.
- School Miami Dade Community College North
- High School Miami Springs High School
- Debut June 3, 1985
- Final Game September 22, 1999
- Born March 10, 1963 in Brooklyn, NY USA
Standing just 5'8", speedy John Cangelosi played thirteen seasons in the majors and was the quintessential fifth outfielder, known for his speed (50 stolen bases as a rookie) and pinch hitting abilities. Despite a career .250 average in 2,004 at bats, Cangelosi's OBP was an impressive .370
Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1982 and signed by scout Walt Widmayer, Cangelosi made his pro debut with the Niagara Falls Sox, finishing second in the New York-Penn League with 45 stolen bases. With the Appleton Foxes in 1983, he led the Midwest League with 87 steals and made the circuit's All-Star team. He moved up to AA with the Glens Falls White Sox in 1984 and finished second in the Eastern League with 91 runs scored and 65 stolen bases. He spent the beginning of the 1985 season with the Mexico City Red Devils, after being loaned to the club along with Manny Salinas for Nelson Barrera, and hit .353 with 30 RBI in 61 games for the club. He returned to the Sox organization later that summer, spending most of the year with the Buffalo Bisons. He made his first five appearances in the bigs that summer, scoring two runs while batting only twice.
Cangelosi earned an invitation to spring training with the big club in 1986 and won an Opening Day start in center field. He earned his first hit, a home run, off Ray Searage of the Milwaukee Brewers on April 9th, and from April 26th to May 26th, he was successful in 15 straight steal attempts. He ended the year with a .235 average and 2 homers and 50 steals, an American League rookie record at the time, and a distant second best in the AL behind Rickey Henderson's 87. John was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jim Winn before the 1987 season. He hit the first pinch-hit home run of his career against the Cincinnati Reds on August 18th and became the first Pirate to steal home in more than twenty years on September 15th. The next summer, he hit .286 as a pinch hitter for Pittsburgh, threw two scoreless innings of relief in a May 3rd game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and hit .331 in 37 games with Triple A Buffalo. In 1989, he appeared in 112 games for the Pirates and led National League pinch hitters with 7 runs scored. He hit just .175 through June in 1990 and was sent back to Buffalo, where he hit .348 in 24 games before returning to Pittsburgh later in the season.
After the 1990 season, Cangelosi became a free agent and returned to the White Sox organization for 1991. He began the year with the Vancouver Canadians of the Pacific Coast League before being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Esteban Beltre. The Brewers assigned him to the Denver Zephyrs, where he led the team with 26 steals. That fall, he was signed by the Texas Rangers, and returned to the majors in 1992. On April 8th, he hit a home run in his first at-bat with the Rangers, off Kevin Brown of the Seattle Mariners, no relation to the Ranger hurler of the same name. After being released in July, he signed with the Detroit Tigers organization and spent the rest of the summer with the Toledo Mud Hens. Back with Toledo in 1993, he strung together a 20-game hitting streak from July 26th to August 18th and ended the year with 39 steals, third best in the International League.
Cangelosi was signed by the New York Mets after the season and appeared in 62 games in 1994, hitting .263 as a pinch hitter. After being released, he signed with the Houston Astros in early 1995. He began the season with the Tucson Toros and hit .368 in 30 games before being recalled by Houston in May. He spent the remainder of the summer and the entire next year with the Astros, swiping 3 bases and driving in 3 runs in a June 30, 1996 contest against the Mets. Following that season, Cangelosi signed with the Florida Marlins. The Marlins won the wild card in his first year with the club, and he earned a start in left field in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. He also made three appearances in the World Series as Florida defeated the Cleveland Indians. Overall, he took part in 7 postseason games that year, getting 2 hits in 10 at bats. In 1998, back with the Marlins, he recorded 14 pinch hits in 104 games. He went back to the White Sox again in 1999 but was let go at the end of spring training. He caught on with the Colorado Rockies, spending most of the year with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. He was recalled in September and earned his final big league hit, a double off Robinson Checo of the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 17th.
- John Cangelosi and K.P. Wee: John Cangelosi: The Improbable Baseball Journey of the Undersized Kid from Nowhere to World Series Champion, Riverdale Avenue Books, Riverdale, NY, 2019. ISBN 978-1626015142