Tony Criscola, outfield
Padres: 1945-47 Tony was the starting centerfielder for the St. Louis Browns in 1943. He claims that after they got rid of him in a trade with Cincinnati, the following year, the Browns won their only pennant ever! As a Padre, Criscola enjoyed his finest season in 1945 when he led the team in runs, hits, triples, and stolen bases. He was a co-founder of the local Hot Stove League with Kent Parker and Morrie Morrison.
[Mel Mazzera interview by Bill Swank, 28 January 1995, transcript notes; background information from David Hasemyer.
San Diego sold me to the Chicago White Sox in ’42, but I turned it down because Chicago wouldn’t give me what I was making in San Diego. I’d get a bonus from the Padres for hitting .300 or getting 100 RBIs and the White Sox wouldn’t give me that much. San Diego was mad, because they had to return whatever they got for me, if they got anything, so I decided to fold it up. It wasn’t worth it, so I became a policemen. San Diego told me later that if they knew I wanted to become a cop, I could have joined San Diego PD and played for the Padres, too.
As things worked out, I rejoined the club in ’44 when they would play in Sacramento, Oakland and San Francisco. I’d take vacation from the Stockton PD and go play ball for the Padres when they’d come up here.
I really enjoyed playing ball in San Diego. We sometimes wondered if we’d have been better off staying there. Eddie Pellagrini and I really enjoyed it in San Diego. They even had a special day for me. The fans were good.