Tom Casagrande

From BR Bullpen

Thomas Eugene Casagrande

BR Minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Tom Casagrande, who also played outfield and first base during his minor-league career, was on the roster of the Philadelphia Phillies at the beginning of the 1955 season. He was one of three players in the 1955 Topps baseball card set who never made it into a big-league game. In addition to him, Jack Parks was briefly with the Milwaukee Braves and Lou Ortiz rode the Phillies' bench into May without getting into any games.

Casagrande grew up in Seymour, Connecticut. While playing at Fordham University, he was a sought-after star. He was also impressive in the Blackstone Valley League in the summer of 1950. The Phillies paid him a $40,000 bonus [1] to sign in October 1950 (shortly after the "Whiz Kids" had lost the 1950 World Series).

Ahead of his first pro season, the Phillies envisaged Casagrande as a first baseman and heir to Eddie Waitkus, rather than as a pitcher. As The Sporting News wrote that March, Rip Sewell (then manager of the New Orleans Pelicans compared the big lefty to Johnny Mize. As it turned out, though, he was a two-way player throughout much of his career. His teams kept his bat in the lineup when he was not pitching.

Casagrande had a strong year on the mound with the Class B Wilmington Blue Rocks in 1951, going 14-7 with a 2.48 ERA. He continued to pitch well in 1951 (11-9, 3.17 for Class A Schenectady) and 1952 (16-7, 2.62, again with Schenectady). He got his first look at Triple-A in 1951.

During the 1954 season, Casagrande pitched with the Louisville Colonels, then a Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. He got into just 17 games on the mound (6-2, 3.43) and 35 overall.

At the beginning of the 1955 season, the Phillies had an unusually large number of men on their roster. On April 19th, the seventh day of the season, the team sent Casagrande, Paul Penson, Mickey Micelotta, and Jim Westlake down to the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs. Penson had gotten into five games with the 1954 Phillies and Micelotta had played 13 in 1954 and four in 1955; Westlake's lone big-league appearance came as a pinch-hitter on April 16th.

Meanwhile, Casagrande's baseball career fizzled. He suffered an arm injury in 1955; as he noted the following spring, it happened because he had been pitching irregularly [2] while also playing at first base. He was out of baseball after 1957.

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