One of only 17 major-league players never to have spent a single day in the minors, Johnny Antonelli was a highly coveted phenom who signed a “bonus baby” contract with the Boston Braves for $52,000 a few days after graduating from Rochester’s Jefferson High School in 1948. It wasn’t until six years later, when he was traded to the New York Giants, that the stylish left-hander began realizing the potential the scouts had seen in him. In a seven-year stretch—from 1953–59—Antonelli was among baseball’s best hurlers, compiling a 114–89 record, 22 shutouts and nine saves, while being named a National League All-Star five times. Following his baseball career, Antonelli became a successful entrepreneur in the tire business. Enjoy this inside look at the Golden Age of baseball.
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