John Costa Rizzo
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 190 lb.
- Debut April 19, 1938
- Final Game September 25, 1942
- Born July 30, 1912 in Houston, TX USA
- Died December 4, 1977 in Houston, TX USA
Outfielder Johnny Rizzo had spent his first two years in the minors (1931 and 1932) as a free agent and was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals before the 1933 season as an amateur free agent. Rizzo spent 1933 through 1937 as part of the Cardinal chain. After Rizzo blistered the American Association with the Columbus Red Birds in 1937, with a .358 hitting average, 209 base hits and 21 home runs in 150 games plus slugging at a .592 pace, the Pittsburgh Pirates obtained him in a multi-player deal on October 13, 1937.
The Pirates were heralding Johnny to be their man of the future when he took the field in 1938 and the young man responded by hitting .301, driving in 111 runs and busting 23 home runs, more than any other Pirate player had ever collected in a single season at this time. He would play in only 94 games in 1939 and although he fell off in his batting average, he proved himself a tough man to face, batting across 54 runs on 86 hits. Rizzo continued his downward spiral and the Pirates traded him to the Cincinnati Reds in 1940, who in turn moved him to the Philadelphia Phillies in mid-season. He ended his major league time with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1942. His seven-year major league run totaled to a .270 hitting average with 61 home runs in 557 games.
The Military Services would give John a call and he spent the next three years (1943-1945) serving with the United States Navy during World War II, enlisting in March of 1943. On his return Rizzo played four more seasons in the minors, hitting .309 with 17 homers in 128 games for the Chattanooga Lookouts at age 35 and again, as all ballplayers want to do, he became player-manager of the Lakeland Pilots of the Florida International League in 1949. Although Johnny hit .311 in 117 games, his team finished with a 60-92 record 35 games back in a dead last finish. This also finished Johnny and he ended his eleven-year minor league run with a .322 hitting average with 127 home runs in 1,362 games. Rizzo hit over .300 in eight of his playing seasons with his best, of course, coming in 1937, when he hit .358.
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 2 (1938 & 1940)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1938)