Tito Nanni

From BR Bullpen

Tito Angelo Nanni Jr.

BR Minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Outfielder Tito Nanni was drafted in the 1st round of the 1978 amateur draft by the Seattle Mariners, but never made the majors. Over his career, Nanni primarily played first base and outfield. Nanni played in the Seattle Mariners organization for the majority of his career, but also spent part of a season in the California Angels organization, and the Toronto Blue Jays organization. Despite playing for the aforementioned organizations and being a high draft pick, Nanni never made an appearance in the major leagues. He is considered to be one of the worst first-round draft picks of all-time.[1][2] Nanni played seven seasons in minor league baseball, and had a career batting average of .253 with a .384 slugging percentage, 701 hits, 122 doubles, 22 triples, and 66 home runs in 2775 at-bats.

Amateur career[edit]

For high school, Nanni attended Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Nanni is a hall of fame member at his school.[3] During his athletics career at Chestnut Hill, Nanni played baseball, basketball and football.[3] He was the captain and most valuable player for each sport he played.[3] He was an All-City selection in football, an All-Inter-Ac for basketball, and All-City and All-American for baseball.[3]

Professional career[edit]

1978–1980 seasons[edit]

Nanni was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the first round (sixth pick overall) of the 1978 Major League Baseball Draft. He was signed on August 22.[4][5] The chief scout for the Seattle Mariners who signed Nanni, Mel Didier, was later fired because the Mariners claimed Nanni's $100,000 contract violated Major League Baseball regulations.[6] Nanni began his professional career with the Class-A Alexandria Mariners of the Carolina League in 1979. He batted .226/.290/.323 with 91 hits, 19 doubles, 1 triple, and 6 home runs. He made 11 outfield errors and led the league with 132 strikeouts. He stole 15 bases, but was caught stealing 14 times. The next season, 1980, Nanni batted a combined .229 between the Class-A Wausau Timbers and the Class-A San Jose Missions. With the Missions, Nanni batted .199/.292/.298 with 38 hits, 6 doubles, 2 triples, and 3 home runs. With the Timbers, he batted .253/.332/.439 with 60 hits, 8 doubles, and 12 home runs. His 12 home runs that year were tied for third on the Wausau club with Jim Presley.

1981–1984 seasons[edit]

On March 27, 1981, after spring training, Nanni was assigned to the Triple-A Spokane Indians,[7] however, he played only for the Double-A Lynn Sailors that season. With Lynn, Nanni batted .249/.376/.352 with 90 hits, 14 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs, 40 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases in 33 tries in 116 games. His plate discipline had improved significantly with 70 walks against 72 strikeouts. On March 11, 1982, the Mariners re-signed Nanni.[8] That season, Nanni continued to play for the Double-A Lynn Sailors. He batted .293/.376/.467 with 71 runs scored, 139 hits, 25 doubles, 5 triples, 16 home runs, 77 RBIs, and 32 stolen bases in 42 tries in 134 games. He was first on the team in hits; tied for first in doubles; second in home runs, RBIs, and runs scored; and was third in triples. He led the Eastern League with 11 intentional walks but also with 17 outfield errors. He was 9th in the EL in batting average. In 1983, Nanni was promoted to the Triple-A Salt Lake City Gulls of the Pacific Coast League. He batted .240/.349/.391 with 100 hits, 18 doubles, 5 triples, 11 home runs, 52 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases in 25 attempts in 122 games. He improved his defense, with 11 assists in the outfield and only six errors.

Nanni's last season in the Mariners' organization would come in the 1984 season with the Triple-A Salt Lake City Gulls. He batted .273 with 127 hits, 23 doubles, 7 triples, and 6 home runs in 135 games. Nanni was tied for first on his team with Jamie Allen in doubles; and was third in hits, and triples.

Later career[edit]

In 1985, Nanni spent spring training with the Chicago Cubs and on March 22, he was reassigned to their minor league camp.[9] On April 2, before the start of the season, Nanni was traded to the California Angels for pitcher Angel Moreno.[10] California then assigned Nanni to the Double-A Midland Angels of the Texas League. He batted .263 with 44 hits, 6 doubles, and 4 home runs in 53 games with Midland that season. Nanni later wound up in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, where he was assigned to the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs. He finished out the 1985 season with the Chiefs batting .200 with 12 hits, 3 doubles, 1 triple, and 1 home run in 18 games.


Alan Schwarz, special reporter to ESPN.com, rated Nanni as the sixth worst baseball draft pick of all-time, and claimed that Jerry Krause, a scout for the Mariners at the time of the draft, insisted the Mariners pick Kirk Gibson.[1] On June 5, 2006, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer named Nanni was the worst pick of all-time made by the Mariners citing the fact that they could have chosen Ryne Sandberg, Cal Ripken, Jr., Kirk Gibson or Dave Stieb, all of whom were in the same draft and were selected after Nanni.[2] Larry Stone, writer for The Seattle Times, described Nanni and players Stone claimed were like Nanni, including Bucky Jacobsen, Jim Maler, and Paul McAnulty, as "...guys that can hit the ball a mile, that put up tremendous minor-league statistics, but for some reason or another...can't make their mark in the major leagues."[11]


Tito Nanni is the uncle of Ryan Nanni who played for the University of Delaware baseball team.[12]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Alan Schwarz (June 3, 2005). From A-Rod ... to a guy named Chilcott. ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 June boons and swoons: The best and worst of Mariner draft picks. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Hearst Seattle Media, LLC (June 5, 2006). Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Athletics: Hall of Fame. Chestnut Hill Academy Athletics. Chestnut Hill Academy. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
  4. Rookie Signs. United Press International. The Bryan Times (August 22, 1978). Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
  5. Pick Signs. Associated Press. Spokane Daily Chronicle (August 23, 1978). Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
  6. Bench sees big overhaul of Red machine for 1979. The Montreal Gazette (September 28, 1978). Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
  7. Mariners moves. St. Petersburg Times (March 27, 1981). Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
  8. Seattle Mariners sign eight. United Press International. The Montreal Gazette (March 11, 1982). Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
  9. Transactions: National League. Spokane Chronicle (March 22, 1985). Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
  10. Baseball moves: National League. Reading Eagle (April 2, 1985). Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
  11. Larry Stone (September 8, 2009). An ode to lumbering minor-league sluggers. The Seattle Times. The Seattle Times Company. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.
  12. Roster - Baseball: Ryan Nanni. University of Delaware Athletics. University of Delaware. Retrieved on May 4, 2010.

Related Sites[edit]