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MARINO PIERETTI , RIGHTHANDED PITCHER 
Born in Lucca on 23/09/1920 - Died 30/01/1981

Marino Paul Pieretti (nicknamed Chick) pitched 6 seasons at the Major League level (all in the American League) from 1945 to 1950.
He made his MLB debut on April 19th 1945 for the Washington Senators, who had acquired him from Portland one year before on the Rule 5 Draft. The 5 foot 7 Pieretti represented Washington for 110 games (40 as a starter) and a total of 390 innings pitched. His Rookie season (14 wins, 2 saves, 14 complete games and a 3.32 ERA), was the best of his career. 
After leaving the Senators, Pieretti pitched 3 more seasons in the American League for the Chicago White Sox, and the Cleveland Indians. He finished his playing career with the Sacramento Solons.
In the offseasons Pieretti worked in a slaughterhouse and he was known for killing cattle with a baseball bat (several decades prior to the animal rights movement).  This eventually helped him hit a lifetime respectable (for a pitcher) .217.
Marino Pieretti was born in Lucca, one of the most beautiful cities of the Tuscany Region, and died in San Francisco. By the time of his death Pieretti had isolated himself at his home.
After his death, his boyhood friends have created the Friends of Marino Pieretti Club, with the aim of helping lonely men in need.

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JULIO BONETTI , RIGHTHANDED PITCHER  
Born in Vado Ligure on 14/07/1911 - Died 17/06/1952
Julio Bonetti

Julio Giacomo Bonetti was a right-handed pitcher for the St. Louis Browns and the Chicago Cubs.
Bonetti made his Major League debut with the Browns on April 22, 1937. He became a versatile pitcher for the lowly Browns that season, pitching in 12 games out of the bullpen (notching one save) and starting 16 others. He was known as an effective sinker baller, but problems with pitch location kept him from becoming a regular in the Big Leagues
His contract was purchased by the Cubs in February 1939, and after some time in the Minors, Bonetti worked his way onto the Cubs roster in April 1940. Unfortunately, his Cub debut, which came three years to the day after his Major League debut, was disastrous. He never pitched in the Major Leagues again.
In early 1941, while with Los Angeles in the Pacific Coast League, he was seen accepting money from a gambler. No one overtly charged him with game-fixing, but the impropriety was enough for his expulsion from organized baseball.
Bonetti had arrived in the United States as a 3 year old from the Italian Region of Liguria, together with his mother Rosa Barile, to join his father Paolo, a shoe-maker who had settled 2 years before in the San Francisco area. Julio helped his family as a fruit picker and a carpenter. He attended public school in San Francisco and went to College for 2 years. Before signing his first pro contract (in 1933 for the San Francisco Mission of the Pacific Coast League) he worked as an architect for a map company.

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HENRY ARCADO BIASATTI , FIRST BASEMEN
Born on 14/01/1922 in Beano (Udine) - Died 20/04/1996
Hank Biasatti stretching at first base

Henry Arcado Biasatti (known as Hank) was a gifted athlete. He played 6 games in the NBA and 21 games in the Major Leagues. He was inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001. A first baseman, he began playing professional baseball in 1946 in the International League. He was considered a good fielder but a poor hitter. Nevertheless, he developed into a power hitter, posting a 21 home run 1948 season.
He had his cup of coffee in the Big Leagues with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1949, while Ferris Fain was the regular first baseman. Biasatti drew 8 walks but got only 2 hits (both of them doubles). He would never get back to the Show, but played 2 more seasons (1950 and 1951) in the International League before becoming a player coach in semi pro baseball.
As a basketball player Biasatti played for the Toronto Huskies in the inaugural season of the Basketball Association of America, which later evolved into the NBA. In fact, the NBA lists Biasatti as te first international player to appear in the League. After playing 6 games for the Huskies, Hank told management that baseball was his top priority and was released. After retiring from baseball, Biasatti became a respected basketball coach at the College level. He took Assumption University to 3 Ontario-Quebec Senior Intercollegiate titles in the 1950ies.
Hank Biasatti lived next door to Reno Bertoia, another italian born Big Leaguer, in Windsor (Ontario) when Bertoia was growing up. As Bertoia, he came from the Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, in the north east of Italy. 
Hank Biasatti died in Dearborn, Michigan, at the age of 74.

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LOUIS AMERICO POLLI ,  RIGHTHANDED PITCHER
Born on 09/07/1901 in Baveno (Verbania)- Died 19/12/2000

Louis Americo Polli, the first italian born Big Leaguer, was known as Crip on a baseball field. He actually earned his nickname after a football injury that put him briefly on crutches.
After earning Collegiate honors (he even struck out 28 in a 10 inning game for Goddard in 1921) e grew up in the 1920ies in the Yankees organization. He personally met legends like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, but couldn't find his way to the top in such a powerful organization. 
He was almost 31 when he made his debut (April 18th 1932) for the St. Louis Browns, pitching 6.2 innings with a 5.40 earned run average in 5 games.  
Polli would not play again in the Major Leagues until 1944, when (at the age of 43) he pitched 35.2 innings for the New York Giants, with a 4.54 earned run average, over 15 games. Polli's career ERA was 4.68.
He had not much success at the top level, but turned out to be one of the greatest pitchers in the history of Minor League Baseball. He posted a 263-226 record over 22 seasons and pitched 3 no hitters. He performed the last one in 1945 during the last game he pitched in organized baseball.
Crip Polli was the last of 7 children. His family moved from Baveno (on the lake Maggiore, near the border between Italy and Switzerland) to Barre (Vermont) because Crip's father, a Stone Cutter, was employed in the local granite quarries.
Louis unusual middle name tells us of the enthusiasm his family had about moving to North America. Barre was known in these days for its radical politics. Many italians joined the Union, but the Pollis were not interested in politics. Anyway, rumors (which Crip himself has always denied) tell that Polli didn't have the career he deserved in the Majors due to prejudice, expecially after the Sacco and Vanzetti case.
When he died in 2000, Lou Polli was only months from his 100th birthday.

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RINALDO ARDIZOIA , RIGHTHANDED PITCHER
Born on 20/11/1919 in Oleggio (Novara)

Rinaldo Ardizoia in a Yankee uniform

Rinaldo Ardizoia in his San Francisco house

Rinaldo Ardizoia, a 5"11", 180 lb. right-hander known as Rugger in baseball, appeared in one game for the New York Yankees. The 27-year-old rookie took the mound on April 30, 1947 at "Sportsmans Park" in the bottom of the 7th inning with the Yankees trailing the St. Louis Browns. He pitched two innings for New York and faced a total of 10 batters, giving up 4 hits (including a homer by Walter Judnich), 1 walk, and 2 earned runs. The final score was Browns 15, Yankees 5. Ardizoia was credited with a game finished.
Although that was the only Major League game Ardizoia played, his professional career began in 1937 in the Pacific Coast League and finished in 1951 in the Texas League.
In 1941, while playing in Hollywood, he developed a friendship with future President of the United States Ronald Reagan.
Ardizoia served in the US Army starting 1942. He was assigned to a Camp in Honolulu to serve as intepreter for italian prisoners. Both the Army and the Navy had baseball teams.
"We could count on Joe Di Maggio" recalls Ardizoia "But they had Phil Rizzuto. When we played, you could find only standing places". 
When he left Italy, Rugger was only 3 years old. But he has a good memory of his native land, which he visited 5 times.
The last visit Ardizoia made to Italy was in 2002: "And I do not plan any other visits, I am too old...as you say, vecchio".
Italian has always been the first language in the Ardizoia family: "I grew up with my father" recalls Rinaldo "Since my mother died in 1925 and we spoke only in Italian. Actually, it was quite useful, since giving Italian lessons I met my wife. We spent together 65 years and the last ones were very happy. We did a lot of travelling since I retired in 1982".

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RENO BERTOIA , THIRD BASEMAN
Born January 8, 1935 in San Vito al Tagliamento (Udine)- Died April 15, 2011

Reno Bertoia in his playing days as a Tiger

Reno Bertoia ready for the ceremonial first pitch in Parma

Reno Bertoia played infield for the Detroit Tigers (1953-58 and 1961-62), Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins (1959-61) and Kansas City Athletics (1961).
Bertoia moved with his family to Canada from Italy when he was one year old and grew up in Windsor, Ontario.  His next-door neighbour and role model was Hank Biasatti
He attended Assumption University in 1958 while a member of the Tigers. Bertoia also became close friends with Hall Of Fame outfielder Al Kaline while with Detroit.
In 10 Major League seasons he played in 612 games and had 1,745 at bats, posting a career .244 batting average.
In January 1964, Bertoia signed to play in the japanese Central League with the Hanshin Tigers. He asked for his release a few weeks into the season because his son had been ill during most of the family's stay in Japan.
After his retirement as a player, Bertoia worked as a teacher for 30 years with the Windsor Catholic School Board.
He was inducted into the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame in 1982, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988 and the University of Windsor Alumni Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.
Reno Bertoia visits regularly his family in Italy. In May 2009 he saw his first Italian Baseball League game in Parma, where he asked to throw the ceremonial first pitch in a Team Italy uniform.
"I am very much connected to my roots" said Bertoia to journalists during his vist "Actually I had a contact with the Italian Federation President Steno Borghese in the 1950ies, but we couldn't do anything together".
Bertoia has not been involved in baseball for many years, but still follows the game as a fan: "Right now I am following the progress of the italian kids in America, expecially Alex Liddi and Alessandro Maestri. Seeing them play in the Big Leagues would mean a lot for the popularity of the game in Italy and Europe".
Award winning canadian journalist Marty Gervais wrote in 2005 the novel "Reno", that is dedicated to Bertoia. The character of Reno is real, but only in name and reference to his statistics.
Reno Bertoia died in his Windsor house on April 15th 2011.
Legendary former Tiger Al Kaline mourned his passing: "Reno was a special person, and one of the nicest people to be around. Reno and I were close friends, and roommates when we broke into the Big Leagues our first couple of years. Even after he was traded (to the Washington Senators), we remained friends through the years. I'll miss him, and my condolences go out to his family."

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ALEX LIDDI , THIRD BASEMAN
Born August 14, 1988 in Sanremo
Alex Liddi scores his first run in the Big Leagues Alex Liddi is the first player not only born, but also developed in Italy to reach the Major Leagues.
He was born in 1988 and has been considered a top prospect since the 2003 season. In 2004 he represented Italy in the 18 and Under World Cup when he was not yet 16 and made his debut in the Serie A2 (in the italian second division he played for Sanremo and Roselle Grosseto).
In 2005 he attended the Major League Camp for the best european prospects in Tirrenia (Pisa) and signed a contract for the Seattle Mariners on September 9.
He made his debut in the Big Leagues for the Mariners on September 7 2011 against the Los Angeles Angels.
In his first season in the Bigs he went 9 for 40 in 14 games and connected for 3 homers. After hitting 30 (with 100 RBIs) at the Triple A level for Tacoma, he hit his first dinger on September 19 in Cleveland off Indians pitcher Huff.
Liddi has played for Team Italy since the 2006 Intercontinental Cup and was the starting third baseman for the azzurri in the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classic.

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