On a warm summer day in 1963 all the kids on our block in San Jose were excited because later that evening a San Francisco Giant was going to make an appearance at Dick’s Supermarket! The whole gang (Ronny, Bobby, Danny, Johnny) on Clarendon Dr. wondered who would it be? Willie Mays? Willie McCovey? Juan Marichal? We broke out all our Giants stuff, programs, baseball cards, pennants for our distinguished guest to sign. Five o’clock couldn’t come fast enough. When we got in line at Dick’s it was a complete letdown and disappointment to find out it was Joey Amalfitano. Who the hell is Joey Amalfitano? At the time, he was a utility second baseman. However, when our turn came to meet him, the biggest surprise turned out to be that our dad had gone to high school with Joey at St. Anthony’s in Long Beach. My dad and Joey shook hands and hugged each other. My brothers and I felt like celebrities! Mr. Amalfitano signed a 1963 baseball card. I have kept all these years. It was my first Giants autograph.
POST SCRIPT: Joe Amalfitano’s final season in “the show” was with the Cubs in 1967. He would later have a long and distinguished career as a scout, coach and manager in the big leagues with the Cubs, Dodgers and Giants. He currently holds the title of Special Assistant, Player Development with the Giants. More info on Joe can be found on page 39 of the 2011 San Francisco Giants Media Guide.
And did I mention he went to high school with my dad!