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Biofile John D’Acquisto

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: Former MLB pitcher from 1973-1982 for San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, Montreal Expos, California Angels and Oakland A’s. 1974 National League Rookie of the Year.

DOB: December 24, 1951 In: San Diego, CA

Baseball inspirations: Willie Mays. Juan Marichal. Gaylord Perry.

Last book read: The Grand Design.

Nickname(s): Johnny D.

Hobbies/leisure activities: Cars, Golf, fishing.

First job: Fish markets.

Current car: Ford Mustang 2011.

Greatest sports moment: Breaking the Giants rookie strikeout record in 1974 held by Ruben Gomez back in 1906 and getting a two-minute standing ovation.

Most painful moment: Signing with the Angels when I should’ve signed with the New York Yankees in 1981.

Favorite uniforms: San Francisco Giants 1973, ‘74, ‘75, ‘76.

Favorite ballparks to play: San Diego’s Jack Murphy. Dodger Stadium. Veteran’s Stadium in Philadelphia. And old Yankee Stadium.

First famous ballplayer you ever met or encountered: Willie Mays, I had a locker next to Willie my first year in spring training 1971 Casa Grande, Arizona.

Closest baseball friends: Eric Rasmussen, Rollie Fingers, Lou Klimchock, Claudell Washington, Pete Rose, Gaylord Perry.

Funniest players encountered: Jay Johnstone, Randy Jones, Michael Norris. Willie McCovey when he did the kangaroo court judge’s job – very funny. Chris Speier and Chris Arnold.

Toughest competitors encountered: The Big Red Machine the whole team, it gave me a headache to pitch against them. But I did well against them.

Favorite sport outside baseball: Golf.

Three athletes you like to watch & follow: Tiger Woods – a true fighter. Peyton Manning. And Phil Mickelson’s short game.

Funny baseball memory: When I hit my first and only home run they gave me the silent treatment for a long time. With the Giants in 1974.

Embarrassing baseball memory: I pitched a game on national TV when I had the flu and threw a pitch and crapped my pants. Chris Speier came to the mound and we were laughing pretty hard…But it was very embarrassing.

Strangest game: I was involved in a triple play with Dave Rader catching, first and second, no one out, 3-2 was the count. Runners take off. The ball was hit to me, a line drive. Mike Tyson-Don Kessinger-Keith Hernandez. See ya. With the Cardinals in 1977.

Facing Hank Aaron: I only faced Hank once in my career and I can remember this much that I was so excited to face him it was so euphoric that I don’t even think my feet were touching the ground… Chris Speier ran into to talk to me. Asking me, “What are you going to throw him?” I just look at Chris in the eyes and said, “My best against his best.” Chris responded, “Good Luck” and ran back to shortstop. First pitch was a strike and I could see Hank was gauging me he put his hand on his helmet and pushed it down on his head and looked at me. Second pitch was a fastball definitely 100-plus Hank swung right through it you could feel the wind blowing. Next pitch I threw was a fastball on the black. Tom Gorman was the umpire. It was a good pitch called a ball. The next pitch was a rising fastball that Hank swung right through it. He look at me and tipped his helmet to me and said. “Welcome to the big leagues kid.”

I will never forget that moment in my career. The next day I went out to watch BP and see Hank hit. He called me over and said, “John, I will never face you again you are slowing down my chase for the record.” We laughed I wished him good luck. he patted me on the back and I floated to the dugout where I watched him hit a few out of the park in BP. Hank was a special gift to baseball he was a great human being and a person I admired.

People qualities most admired: John F. Kennedy. Charlie Fox. Jimmy Davenport. Roger Craig. Chuck Estrada. Billy Martin.

(Artwork by John D’Acquisto.)

About Mark Malinowski