Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Al Zarilla Winds Down in the PCL

Al Zarilla played outfield for the Browns, Red Sox and White Sox thru the World War II years into the mid-fifties, and had a nice career. He was an All-Star in 1948 and had a mention in the MVP race for the AL Champion Brownies.

By 1953, his effectiveness as an extra outfielder in the majors had ended. His Baseball Reference major league page shows a sub-.200 batting average for the Red Sox. He played a couple more seasons in the PCL, starting with independent Seattle in 1954. But how did he get there?

The Waukesha Daily Freeman of January 7, 1954...

“The Boston Red Sox and the signing of other major league baseball players made up most of the news today as the clubs pepped up preparations for the 1954 spring training season. Boston gave outfielder Al Zarilla, a 10-year American Leaguer, his unconditional release,”

So he was a free agent when he signed with Seattle. 
From the Daytona Beach Morning Journal of January 30, 1954...

“Seattle’s baseball management announced yesterday the signing of Outfielder Al Zarilla, an 11-year veteran of the American League. He was given free agent status recently by the Boston Red Sox.”

Zarilla  spent a season at Seattle, hitting just .216. The next season, he started at independent San Diego.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette of Dec. 2, 1954...

“San Diego of the Pacific Coast League today purchased outfielder Al Zarilla from Seattle of the same league.”

In 19 games with the Padres, Zarilla's average rebounded a bit, to .256, but it wasn't enough to stick around.

From the Medford Mail-Tribune of May 13, 1955...

“The San Diego Padres announced the outright release of catcher Jim Gladd and outfielder Al Zarilla.”

The Hollywood Stars, a Pirates affiliate at that time, picked him up a bit later. From the Spokane Daily Chronicle of June 8, 1955...

“Desperate for left hand batting, the Hollywood Stars have signed Al Zarilla….as utility outfielder…He was a free agent.”

Ouch, the use of the word 'desperate' isn't exactly a ringing endorsement. 

And it didn't go very well, either, as Zarilla went just 4-for-36 with Hollywood, all singles. From the Jamestown NY Journal of July 25, 1955...

“Veteran outfielder Al Zarilla was handed his unconditional release today by the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League.”

Other than a short class-C stint in 1956, that was it for Zarilla's career. He got everything out of what he had.

Zarilla pic from www.ootpdevelopments.com

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