Johnny Antonelli Helped Start Hank Aaron’s Historic Career

The baseball world mourned the loss of former pitcher Johnny Antonelli, who passed away Saturday at the age of 89.

Antonelli, a right-hander from Rochester, New York, spent 12 seasons in the major leagues, posting a 126-110 record and 3.34 ERA with five All-Star Game invitations and a pair of appearances in the 1954 World Series.

He was also indirectly connected to one of the greatest players in the game’s history getting his chance.

Signed out of high school as a “Bonus Baby” by the Boston Braves in 1948, Antonelli had a 4.40 ERA through his first three seasons before joining the U.S. Army in 1950.

He returned to the Braves, who’s relocated from Boston to Milwaukee, in 1953 and went 12-12 with a 3.18 ERA — the fifth-best mark in the National League. The next February, the Braves sent Antonelli, along with infielder Billy Klaus, pitcher Don Liddle and catcher Ebba St. Claire, to the New York Giants for catcher Sam Calderone and outfielder Bobby Thompson of…

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