Saturday, December 10, 2005
Pretzel Pezzullo Born
Born John Pezzullo, Pretzel appeared in the Majors in just two seasons, the second of which was just a pair of innings. He remains in memory however for his accomplishments in the nickname department. There was a ballplayer in the 1880s and 90s known as "Pretzels," but unlike Pezzullo, the nickname failed to stick to such a degree as it did with Pezzullo.
Besides the alliterative qualities, Pezzullo's nickname comes from his unique wind-up. One baseball magazine appears to describe the lefty's wind-up as featuring a pronounced leg kick followed by a sidearm angle. The magazine concluded that the batter "is sometimes so bewildered by the whole business he forgets to swing." Thus, from all the contortions, Pretzel was born.
I don't know the story on why Pezzullo only lasted the two seasons; given his minimum number of innings in 1936 (the second year of his career) I suspect injuries were a factor, but I can't say for sure. However unsuccessful his career was though, he's always got a helluva a nickname to go back on.