Appel: Tom Villante’s life in major league baseball

From SABR member Marty Appel at The National Pastime Museum on July 20, 2015:

A lot of batboys have “made good” in life, and no doubt the responsibilities instilled in them during those teen years have been a factor. But Tom Villante, who was the New York Yankees batboy in 1944–45, has had a dazzling career, largely in and around baseball, in the years since.

The son of a barber, he was a student at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan when his friend Chester Palmieri asked him to fill in for him during the 1943 World Series—as visiting team batboy. Palmieri had an exam and could not make the game.

Tom wore a St. Louis Cardinals uniform, filled in capably, and asked about a regular position for 1944. He was interviewed by Clubhouse Manager Fred “Pop” Logan (who went back to 1903 with the franchise), and then by Yankees Manager Joe McCarthy himself, and was offered the job. (He was known as “Commie” Villante then, a nickname for Carmelo, but Commie became Tommy for obvious reasons in the 1950s.)

Read the full article here:

Originally published: July 20, 2015. Last Updated: July 20, 2015.