A five-time All Star and 1954 National League Pitcher of the Year, John Antonelli enjoyed success on the mound during twelve seasons in the MLB. The proud son of Italian immigrants, Antonelli was born in Rochester, New York. During high school in 1948, his father, Augie, organized a baseball game for the semi-pro Rochester Stars in which John threw a no-hitter, striking out seventeen batters. The next day, the Boston Braves signed Antonelli and he joined the team that same day.
Antonelli would spend three seasons in Boston before he was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army from 1951-1953. During his service, he was recruited to play for the Fort Myer VA baseball team, where he compiled a 42-2 record in two years. Antonelli returned with the Braves in 1953, now the Milwaukee Braves, and was traded the following year to the New York Giants.
In the 1954 season with New York, Antonelli went 21-7, led the league with a 2.30 ERA, was selected as an All-Star, and led the Giants to a pennant and World Series. Antonelli started and won Game 2 of the World Series, and then came into Game 4 as a reliever to shut down and sweep the Cleveland Indians. He was later chosen as the 1954 NL Pitcher of the Year.
Antonelli and his family moved with the Giants to San Francisco in 1958, and was selected to four straight All-Star teams from 1956-1959. Before his retirement in 1962, Antonelli started the Antonelli Firestone Tire Company in his hometown of Rochester. After his business grew to 28 stores in 1994, he sold the company and began an active retirement. Antonelli finished his career with a 126-100 record, a 3.34 ERA, and 102 complete games.
In 2008, The Italian Civic League of Rochester, NY, presented Antonelli with their Lifetime Achievement Award for his devotion to his family, community, and pride in Italian heritage. Antonelli currently spends part of his time in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he is a valued member of a local bocce ball club and has been the Honorary Chair of the Santa Fe Coalition to End Homelessness for Veterans.
Antonelli was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.